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VOL. 19 



Group I. 

Foundations of the Nation 

Vol.1 European Background of American 
History, by Edward Potts Chey- 
ney, A.M., Prof. Hist. Univ. of Pa. 

** 2 Basis of American History, by 
Livingston Farrand, M.D., Prof. 
Anthropology Colimibia Univ. 

" 3 Spain in Ameri ca, by Edward Gay- 
lord Bourne, Ph.D., Prof. Hist. 
Yale Univ. 

" 4 England in America, by Lyon Gar- 
diner Tyler, LL.D., President 
William and Mary College. 

** 5 Colonial Self - Government, by 
Charles McLean Andrews, Ph.D., 
Prof. Hist. Johns Hopkins Univ. 

Group II. 

Transformation into a Nation 

Vol. 6 Provincial America, by Evarts 
Boutell Greene, Ph.D., Prof. Hist, 
and Dean of College, Univ. of 111. 
** 7 France in America, by Reuben 
Gold Thwaites, LL.D., Sec. Wis- 
consin State Hist. Soc. 

Vol. 8 Preliminaries of the Revolution, 
by George Elliott Howard, Ph.D., 
Prof. Hist. Univ. of Nebraska. 

** 9 The American Revolution, by 
Claude Halstead VanTjpe.Ph.D., 
Prof. Hist. Univ. of Michigan. 

* • I o The Confederation and the Consti- 
tution, by Andrew Cunningham 
McLaughlin, A.M., Head Prof. 
Hist. Univ. of Chicago. 

Group III, 

Development op the Nation 

Vol. II The Federalist System, by John 
Spencer Bassett, Ph.D., Prof. 
Am. Hist. Smith College. 

" 12 The Jeffersonian System, by Ed- 
ward Channing, Ph.D., Prof. Hist. 
Harvard Univ. 

•* 13 Rise of American Nationality, by 
Kendric Charles Babcock, Ph.D., 
Pres. Univ. of Arizona. 

" 14 Rise of the New West, by Freder- 
ick Jackson Turner, Ph.D., Prof. 
Am. Hist. Univ. of Wisconsin. 

** 15 Jacksonian Democracy, by Will- 
iam MacDonald, LL.D., Prof. 
Hist. Brown Univ. 

Group IV. 

Trial of Nationality 

Vol. 16 Slavery and Abolition, by Albert 
Bushnell Hart, LL.D., Prof. Hist. 
Harvard Univ. 

Vol.17 Westward Extension, by George 
Pierce Garrison, Ph.D., Prof. 
Hist. Univ. of Texas. 

" 1 8 Parties and Slavery, by Theodore 
Clarke Smith, Ph.D., Prof. Am. 
Hist. Williams College. 

*• 19 Causesofthe Civil War, by Admiral 
French Ensor Chadwick, U.S.N., 
recent Pres. of Naval War Col. 

" 20 The Appeal to Arms, by James 
Kendall Hosmer, LL.D., recent 
Librarian Minneapolis Pub. Lib. 

" 21 Outcome of the Civil War, by 
James Kendall Hosmer, LL.D., re- 
cent Lib. Minneapolis Pub. Lib. 

Group V. 
National Expansion 
Vol. 22 Reconstruction, Political and Eco- 
nomic, by William Archibald Dim- 
ning, Ph.D., Prof. Hist, and Politi- 
cal Philosophy Columbia Univ. 
" 23 National Development, by Edwin 
Erie Sparks, Ph.D., Prof. Ameri- 
can Hist. Univ. of Chicago. 
** 24 National Problems, by Davis R. 
Dewey, Ph.D., Prof essor of Eco- 
nomics, Mass. Institute of Tech- 

" 25 America as a World Power, by 
John H. Latane, Ph.D., Prof. 
Hist. Washington and Lee Univ. 

** 26 National Ideals Historically 
Traced, by Albert Bushnell Hart, 
LL.D., Prof. Hist. Harvard Univ. 

" 27 Index to the Series, by David 
May dole Matteson, A.M. 


The Massachusetts Historical Society 

Charles Francis Adams, LL.D., President 
Samuel A. Green, M.D., Vice-President 
James Ford Rhodes, LL.D., ad Vice-President 
Edward Channing, Ph.D., Prof. History Harvard 

Worthington C. Ford, Chief of Division of MSS. 
Library of Congress 

The Wisconsin Historical Society 

Reuben G. Thwaites, LL.D., Secretary and Super- 

Frederick J. Turner, Ph.D., Prof, of American His- 
tory Wisconsin University 

James D. Butler, LL.D., formerly Prof. Wisconsin 

William W. Wight, President 

Henry E. Legler, Curator 

The Virginia Historical Society 

William Gordon McCabe, Litt.D., President 

Lyon G. Tyler, LL.D., Pres. of William and Mary 

Judge David C. Richardson 
J. A. C. Chandler, Professor Richmond College 
Edward Wilson James 

The Texas Historical Society 

Judge John Henninger Reagan, President 
George P. Garrison, Ph.D., Prof, of History Uni- 
versity of Texas 
Judge C. W. Raines 
Judge Zachary T. FuUmore 














Copyright, 1906, by Harper & Brothers. 
{*riated in the United States of America 



Editor's Introduction xi 

Author's Preface xiii 

I. Drift Towards Southern Nationalization 

(1850-1860) 3 

II. The Slave-Holding South (i 850-1 860) . 17 

III. Dominance of Calhoun's Political Concep- 

tions (1850-1860) 37 

IV. Expectations of the South (1850-1860) . 54 

V. The John Brown Raid (1858-1859) ... 67 

VI. Rising Spirit of Antagonism in Congress 

(1859-1860) 90 

VII. Preliminaries of the Presidential Elec- 

tion (i860) 109 

VIII. The Tide of Separation (September-Novem- 

ber, i860) 124 

IX. Secession Accomplished (October, 1860- 

Febniary, 1861) 136 

X. Buchanan's Attitude Towards Secession 

(November-December, i860) 151 

XI. Schemes of Compromise (December, 1860- 

January, 1861) 166 

XII. Status of the Forts (October 29, i860- 

December 20, i860) 184 



XIII. The Fort Sumter Crisis (December 2, 1860- 

January 8, 1861) 205 

XIV. Episode of the Star of the West (January, 

1861) 223 

XV. Fort Pickens and the Confederacy (Janu- 

ary, 1861-February, 1861) 247 

XVI. Border States and Second Effort at 

Compromise (January, 1861-February, 
1861) 265 

XVII. Lincoln's Attitude (December, 1860-Feb- 

ruary, 1861) 278 

XVIII. The Last Negotiation (March 4, 1861- 

April 12, 1861) 289 

XIX. The Fall of Fort Sumter (April, 1861) . 321 

XX. Critical Essay on Authorities .... 343 


Value of Manufactures (in millions) and 
Distribution of Staple Products (i860) 
(in colors) 

Distribution of Population (i860) . . , 

The United States (i860) (in colors) . . . 

John Brown's Raid at Harper's Ferry . . 

Presidential Election of i860 (w colors) . 

Charleston Harbor, April, 1861 . . . . 

facing 8 
** 20 

" 132 
" 244 


THE most dramatic and most momentous epi- 
sode in the history of the United States is 
undoubtedly the Civil War, into which the cotin- 
try slowly drifted for nearly ten years, but which 
burst out with amazing suddenness and unexpect- 
edness. From one point of view all the volumes of 
the American Nation^ after the Revolutionary pe- 
riod, deal with the friction between the North and 
the South. Hart, Slavery and Abolition (Volume 
XVI.), specifically discusses the controversy over 
slavery and anti-slavery. Smith, Parties and Slavery 
(American Nation, XVIII.), brings out the political 
divergences. In the first four chapters of this vol- 
imie, Admiral Chadwick intentionally restates this 
discussion in the light of the intense sectional rivalry 
and mutual dislike revealed over the election of 
Abraham Lincoln to the presidency; and he shows 
the economic importance of slave-grown products 
and the significance of the political theory of state 
rights at the time of the outbreak. The narrative 
begins where Professor Smith's volimie leaves off in 
1859, with the John Brown raid (chapter v.). In 
the next chapter the political events of 1859 and 



i860 are described. Chapters vii. and viii. are on 
the election of i860. The process of secession and 
the attitude of Buchanan occupy chapters ix. and 
X. Chapter xi. deals with the first and utterly 
unsuccessful attempt at compromise. In chapters 
xii. to XV. there is a thorough discussion of the 
status of the Federal forts in the South, and of the 
attitude of Buchanan's administration, culminating 
in the episode of the Star of the West. Chapter xvi. 
is upon the second attempt at compromise, in 
February, 1861. With chapter xvii. begins Lin- 
coln's administration and the development of its 
policy. Chapter xix. in detail expoimds the final 
outbreak in the fall of Fort Sumter. 

A West Virginian by birth, a graduate of the 
Naval Academy in 1864, and acquainted with 
many of the principal actors in this great drama, 
Admiral Chadwick brings an impartial spirit to his 
difficult task. The question of responsibility for the 
Civil War is one which cannot be settled off-hand, 
and no two writers, even occupying about the same 
stand-point, will agree as to the character of all in- 
dividuals or the question of aggression; but the 
author has aimed in moderate phrase to state the 
results of a careful study of the men and the princi- 
ples involved. The volume leads directly to the 
story of the events of the war in Hosmer's Appeal 
to Arms and Outcome of the Civil War (American 
Nation, XX. and XXL). 


IN preparing this volume I have had in mind 
throughout, both the limitations of space and the 
extent of the field described by its title. By " Causes 
of the Civil War," I understand those events, princi- 
ples, and personalities, which were finally focussed 
in the exciting period from 1859 to 1861; but it 
is not possible to bring out the significance of all 
those influences in a narrative confined to those 
two years, however eventful. The subject is one 
of such long continued and deep nationalistic and 
psychologic influences, that I have devoted several 
preliminary chapters to the state of mind of those 
who took the responsibiHty for the final arbitrament 
of civil war. No such crisis can be explained in any 
other way than as a slow development ; and though 
I have in those introductory chapters freely referred 
to earlier volimies of this series, and have so far as 
possible avoided going over the grotmd which they 
•have traversed, I have aimed to make the volume 
self-explanatory, even at the risk of some slight 
repetition in the work as a whole. 

The crisis of the secessionist movement was in 
the government's attitude in the questions of Forts 



Sumter and Pickens; this part of the subject has 
thus been dealt with in especial detail. 

Many friends have given information, or made 
suggestions on text and maps. I beg to express my 
obligations to them, and particularly to the officials 
of the War and Navy Department Libraries, of the 
Libraries of Congress, of the United Libraries of 
New York City, of Brown and Harvard Universities, 
of the Boston Public Library, and the Redwood 
Library, Newport, whose courtesy and helpfulness 
have lightened the task of preparation. 

F. E. Chadwick. 





SEVENTY -TWO years after the adoption of 
the Constitution, called into being to form "a 
more perfect union," and eighty -five years after 
the declaration of independence (a space complete- 
ly covered by the lives of men then still living), 
a new confederacy of seven southern states was 
formed, and the great political fabric, the exemplar 
and hope of every lover of freedom throughout the 
world, was apparently hopelessly rent. Of these 
seven states but two were of the original thirteen — 
Louisiana and Florida had been purchased by the 
government of the Union; a war had been fought 
in behalf of Texas; two states, Alabama and Mis- 
sissippi, lay within original claims of Georgia, but 
had been ceded to the Union and organized as 
Federal territories. 
April II, 1 861, found a fully organized separate 


government established for these seven states, with 
a determination to form a separate nation, most 
forcibly expressed by the presence of an army at 
Charleston, South Carolina, which next day was to 
open fire upon a feebly manned fort, and thus to 
begin a terrible civil war. The eight other slave 
states were in a turmoil of anxiety, leaning towards 
their sisters of the farther South through the com- 
mon sympathy which came of slavery, but drawn 
also to the Union through tradition and appreciation 
of benefits, and through a realization by a great 
number of persons that their interests in slavery 
were much less than those of the states which had 
already seceded. 

The North, in the middle of April, was only emerg- 
ing from a condition of stupefied amazement at a 
condition which scarcely any of its statesmen, and 
practically none of the men of every-day life, had 
thought possible. It was to this crisis that the 
country had been brought by the conflicting views 
of the two great and strongly divided sections of 
the Union respecting slavery, and by the national 
aspirations which, however little recognized, were 
working surely in each section, but upon divergent 

In the period of the Revolution the four most 
southerly states were the only ones deeply interested 
in slavery from an economic point of view. The 
general sentiment in other states, among states- 
men, at least, was averse to slavery, though the ob- 


jection was rather philosophic than practical. Even 
the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1772 petitioned 
against the traffic, but was resisted by the British 
crown. ^ In the Articles of Association drawn up 
by the first Continental Congress, October 20, 1774, 
it was agreed that the United Colonies would 
''neither import nor purchase any slave" and would 
''wholly discontinue the slave trade. 

The North Carolina and Virginia Conventions 
sending delegates to that congress pledged them- 
selves not to import slaves and not to purchase 
them when imported by others.^ And Congress 
itself, April 6, 1776, resolved, without opposition, 
that " no slaves be imported into any of the thirteen 
United Colonies."^ Though this action was direct- 
ed against British commerce, it was an indication of 
a general feeling of opposition to the traffic. No 
mention, however, was made of the subject in the 
Articles of Confederation submitted November 15, 
1777; the farther South had begim to look to its 
supposed interests, and the results were the com- 
promises of the Constitution, a necessity to the for- 
mation and immediate well-being of the Union, but 
fatal to its later peace. ^ 

* Journal of Va. House of Burgesses, 131 ; Tucker's Blackstone, 
I., pt. ii., App. 5. 

2 Journals of Congress (ed. of 1904), I., 77. 

^Wilson, Slave Power, I., 14. 

^Journals of Congress (ed. of 1904), IV., 258. 

^ Cf. McLaughlin's Confederation and the Constitution, chaps, 
xiv., xvi.; Hart, Slavery and Abolition, chap. xi. {Am. Nation, 
X., XVL). 


The almost universal deprecation of slavery by 
the public men of the eighteenth century need not 
be repeated here. The author of the Declaration 
of Independence, which declared all men created 
free and equal; the Virginia orator whose impas- 
sioned declamations had done so much to forward 
it ; the great man and the great general whose lead 
was so indispensable to its success ; and yet another 
Virginian who aided in making and expounding the 
Constitution, all declared their abhorrence of the 
system, but continued to hold their slaves. On 
the other hand, many northerners and Englishmen 
stood by the system. Even Jonathan Edwards left, 
as part of his property, two negroes, a man and a 
woman.* Whitefield regarded slavery as arranged 
by Providence for the instruction and salvation 
of the blacks; he had no doubt of the ''lawful- 
ness of keeping slaves,"^ and died owning seventy- 
five, who, classed among his goods and chattels, 
were bequeathed to Lady Huntingdon.^ Lord Thur- 
low, in 1799, could denounce the proposal to abolish 
the slave-trade as " altogether miserable and ridicu- 

In the face of these facts it is not surprising that 
probably the great majority of lesser men. North as 

^ See Lunt, Origin of the Late War, 8. 

2 Whitefield, Works, II., 404; Tyerman, Whitefield^ IL, 

^Tyerman, John Wesley, III., 183. 

* Summary of debate July 5, 1799, Parliamentary History of 
England, XXXIV., 11 38-1 139. 


well as South, regarded slavery as no sin. It was 
not until a great psychological wave of religious and 
altruistic enthusiasm swept over the North short- 
ly after the Missouri contest that deprecation of 
slavery took a concrete form which made its de- 
struction but a question of time. And this would 
have spread southward but for the simultaneous 
development of an immense and overpowering in- 
terest through the demand for cotton, the inven- 
tion of the cotton-gin, and the consequent expansion 
on a gigantic scale of cotton production. This gave 
the slave a money value which it was hardly in 
human nature to ignore; and it gave an exultant 
feeling of superiority over the North in possessing 
a commercial monopoly. As put by a southern 
writer: "The cotton culture, then, and negro civili- 
zation, have grown up rapidly and equally together 
and their interests are now inseperable; whatever 
injures the one injures the other, and it is impos- 
sible to destroy the one without destroying the 
other. This alliance between the negroes and cot- 
ton, we venture to say, is now the strongest power in 
the world; and the peace and welfare of Christen- 
dom absolutely depend upon the strength and se- 
curity of it. The whole world is under the heaviest 
bonds to promote and strengthen this connection." * 
The supply of slaves could not keep pace with the 
demand ; the more cotton, the more negroes needed. 

^ Wright, Cotton and Negroes," in De Bow's Review, XXIX., 
139 (August, i860). 



Every additional three and a half bales meant an 
additional field -hand, so that in round numbers 
1,400,000 more were employed in the cotton-fields 
in i860 to produce 5,400,000 bales than to produce 
the 450,000 bales of 1820. * 

In these forty years cotton had become not only 
the support of the South and the main-stay of our 
foreign commerce, but an equal necessity to Eng- 
land, the home of the cotton manufacture. There 
was then a basis for the belief, held without re- 
serve, that without slavery there could be no cot- 
ton. The results of freedom in Haiti and Jamaica 
afforded good grounds for such a view, and in any 
case the South had full belief that the result of a 
general emancipation would be totally to destroy 
the cotton industry by the refusal of the blacks to 
labor; thus reducing the region to the depressed 
condition of these islands.^ This feeling was a pow- 
erful element in the political situation. None fore- 
saw that in less than forty years from i860 the crop 
of cotton would be more than doubled under free 
negro labor. Could they have done so, politics 
would have taken a different aspect. The change 
of conditions effected by the rapidly increasing de- 
mand for cotton was by 1830 a great economic 

* Cf. Morse, " Southern Slavery and the Cotton Trade," in 
De Bow's Review, XXIII., 475 et seq. (November, 1857). 

^De Bow's Review, XXVIII., 87, 201 (January and Feb- 
ruary, i860). 


Cotton cultivation rolled like a car of Juggernaut 
over every lesser industry, and marched into new 
territory as an invading army. Public lands to the 
amount of 20,242,017 acres were sold from 1833 to 
1840 in the Gulf states, Arkansas, and Tennessee. 
The cotton crop rose from 1,070,438 bales in 1833 
to 1,801,497 bales in 1838. Almost the whole of 
the increase was in the new slave states, whose 
slave population increased in the decade 1 830-1 840 
by nearly four hundred thousand, proving how 
great had been the shifting of blacks from farther 
North, Virginia showing an actual decrease of 
nearly twenty -three thousand, and Maryland of 
over thirteen thousand.* The natural effect of 
cheap land, the necessity of continually seeking 
fresh soil for tmchanging crops, could have but 
one effect: there could be no careful cultivation, 
no adequate system of fertilization, southern hus- 
bandry was, for the most part, a reckless pillage of 
the bounty of nature." ^ 

Southern slavery wore a more himiane aspect 
than the slave societies which preceded it. By the 
partial closure of the African slave-trade the supply 
was limited, and the economic well-being of the 
planter required such treatment of the slaves as 
would insure not only a good labor efficiency, but, 
still more important, would tend to a rapid in- 
crease in numbers. Says the excellent southern 

* Democratic Review, XXIII., 102 (August, 1848). 
^ Reed, Brothers' War, 432. 


authority just quoted: "The southern slaves, re- 
garded as property, were the most desirable invest- 
ment open to the generality of people that has ever 
been known. . . . Their labor was richly remunera- 
tive ; their market value was constantly rising ; they 
were everywhere more easily convertible into money 
than the best securities; and their natural increase 
was so rapid that a part of it could be squandered 
by a shiftless owner every year to make both ends 
meet, and he still be left enough of accimiulation to 
enrich him steadily. And so the plantation, or, 
rather, the slave system, swallowed up everything 

To preserve this system meant to extend and 
give it at least political equality, if not actual pre- 
ponderance in the Union; this became the aim and 
demand of the South; to restrict it became the 
equally fixed resolve of the North. Failing pre- 
ponderance in the Union, the only course of the 
South was to nationalize itself in correspondence 
with its peculiar social and economic organization, 
and face the world as a nation whose corner-stone 
was negro slavery.^ 

The outward manifestations in the history of the 
separation of the North and the South stand out in 
strong relief: the Missouri question; the protective 
tariff and South Carolina nullification ; the abolition 
attacks which wrought the South into a frenzy sui- 
cidal in character through its impossible demands 
* Reed, Brothers' War, 433. ^Ibid., chap. iv. 


upon the North for protection; the action of the 
southern statesmen in the question of petitions; 
the passage of a fugitive-slave law which drove the 
North itself to nullification; the Kansas-Nebraska 
act and its outcome of civil war in the former terri- 
tory; the recognition, in the dicta of the supreme 
court in the Dred Scott case, of the South 's con- 
tention of its constitutional right to carry slaver}^ 
into the territories, and the stand taken by the 
North against any further slavery extension. To 
these visible conflicts were added the imconscious 
workings of the disruptive forces of a totally dis- 
tinct social organization. The outward strifes were 
but the symptoms of a malady in the body politic 
of the Union which could have but one end, imless 
the deep, abiding cause, slavery, should be removed.^ 
The president and vice-president of the Southern 
Confederacy, in their elaborate defences written 
after the war, have endeavored to rest the cause of 
the struggle wholly on constitutional questions. 
Stephens, whose book, not even excepting Cal- 
houn's utterances, is the ablest exposition of the 
southern reading of the Constitution, says: ''The 
struggle or conflict . . . from its rise to its culmina- 
tion, was between those who, in w^hatever state 
they lived, were for maintaining our Federal sys- 
tem as it was established, and those who were for a 
consolidation of power in the central head."^ Jef- 

1 Ci.Am. Nation, XIV., XVI.-XVIII., passim. 

2 Stephens, War between the States, II., 32. 


ferson Davis is even more explicit. *'The truth re- 
mains," he says, "intact and incontrovertible that 
the existence of African servitude was in no wise 
the cause of the conflict, but only an incident. In 
the later controversies ... its effect in operating as 
a lever upon the passions, prejudices, or sympathies 
of mankind, was so potent that it has been spread 
like a thick cloud over the whole horizon of historic 

This is but begging the question. The constitu- 
tional view had its weight for the South in i860 as 
it had for New England in the Jefferson-Madison 
period. Jefferson's iron domination of the national 
government during his presidency, a policy hateful 
to New England, combined with the fear of being 
overweighted in sectional influence by the western 
extension through the Louisiana purchase, led to 
pronounced threats of secession by men of New 
England, ardently desirous of escaping from what 
Pickering, one of its most prominent men, termed 
the Virginian supremacy.^ Exactly the same argu- 
ments were used, mutatis mutandis, later by the 

As we all know, the movement, which never had 
any real popular support and which had its last spasm 
of life in the Hartford Convention at the close of the 
War of 1 81 2, came to naught. Freed by the fall of 
Napoleon and the peace with England from the 

* Davis, Confederate Government, I., 80. 

2 Adams, New England Federalism, 144-146. 


pressure of the upper and nether mill-stones which 
had so ground to pieces our commerce, a prosperity 
set in which drowned the sporadic discontent of the 
previous twenty years. The fears of the eastern 
states no longer loomed so high and were as im- 
aginary in fact, and had as slight a basis, as were, 
in the beginning of the era of discord, those of the 
South. Could slavery have been otherwise pre- 
served, the extreme decentralizing ideas of the 
South would have disappeared with equal ease, 
and Stephens's causa causans — ''the different and 
directly opposite views as to the nature of the 
Government of the United States, and where, under 
our system, ultimate sovereign power or para- 
mount authority properly resides," would have had 
no more intensity of meaning in i860 than to- 

Divergence of constitutional views, like most 
questions of government, follow the lines of self- 
interest; Jefferson's qualms gave way before the 
great prize of Louisiana; one part of the South was 
ready in 1832 to go to war on account of a protec- 
tive tariff; another, Louisiana, was at the same 
time demanding protection for her special industry. 
The South thus simply shared in our general human 
nature, and fought, not for a pure abstraction, as 
Davis and Stephens, led by Calhoun, would have it, 
but for the supposed self-interest which its view of 
the Constitution protected. Its section, its society, 
could not continue to develop in the Union under 


the northern reading of the document, and the irre- 
pressible and certain nationalization, so different 
from its own tendencies, to which the North as a 
whole was steadily moving. 

Slavery drove the South into opposition to the 
broad, liberal movement of the age. The French 
Revolution; the destruction of feudalism by Na- 
poleon; the later popular movements throughout 
Europe and South America; the liberalizing of 
Great Britain; the nationalistic ideas of which we 
have the results in the German empire and the 
kingdom of Italy, and the strong nationalistic feel- 
ing developing in the northern part of the Union it- 
.self had but little reflex action in the South because 
of slavery and the South 's consequent segregation 
and tendency to a feudalistic nationalization. 

As pointed out by one, himself a distinguished 
son of the South, "In 1789 the states were the 
creators of the Federal Government; in 1861 the 
Federal Government was the creator of a large 
majority of the states. In 1789 the Federal Gov- 
ernment had derived all the powers delegated to it 
by the Constitution from the states; in 1861 a 
majority of the states derived all their powers and 
attributes as states from Congress under the Con- 
stitution. In 1789 the people of the United States 
were citizens of states originally sovereign and in- 
dependent; in 1 86 1 a vast majority of the people of 
the United States were citizens of states that were 
originally mere dependencies of the Federal Gov- 


ernment, which was the author and giver of their 
political being." * 

These words of a southern orator convey a seri- 
ous truth. The conditions of settlement were in- 
stigators of national feeling, as well as the ten- 
dencies of the century and the general conditions 
of American life. The immigrant, the traveller 
abroad, the commercial world, the great merchant 
fleet of the coimtry, the army and navy, knew no 
■state. But the South, except for its representa- 
tives in the military and naval services, was out- 
side the pale of these influences ; it had no merchant 
marine; its only travellers were from among the 
very few who owned slaves; it clung necessarily, 
through slavery, to agriculture, and lived the se- 
cluded and separate life of the husbandman; and 
when attacked by abolitionism it bent all its en- 
ergies to the preservation of the only life it knew. 
It was not touched, except in a remote way, by the 
wonderful industrial change which came over the 
world with steam; its spirit not being commercial, 
it did not strive to link itself with the great West, 
as did New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Balti- 
more. Its harbors were few and mostly shallow, 
and though of depth sufficient for the ships of the 
period, its distance from Europe was so much 
greater when the steamship began to be the carrier 
and took a direct route, independent of trade-winds 
and Gulf Stream, that this distance became an im- 
* Lamar, quoted by Curry, Southern States, 187. 


portant element in the change from busy to de- 
serted ports. 

The impulses working in the North and West, 
liberal, industrial, and national, were thus unfelt in 
the South, which planted and gathered in i860 
much as it did in 1820. Its illiteracy was very 
great, its reading public small. There was less 
movement between North and South than between 
the southern East and West, and the sections grew 
in painful ignorance of each other; an ignorance . 
which increased as intercourse diminished through 
the sensitiveness of slavery. There was left but 
one kinship — that of blood. All other bonds dis- 
appeared in the gulf of economic interest, the out- 
come of its special form of labor, the preservation 
of which became an obsession. Under the circum- 
stances there was but one step finally for the South 
to take — to set up a nationality of its own. It was 
impossible for it to remain under a polity almost as 
divergent from its sympathies as the Russian au- 
tocracy of that period was from the United States 
of to-day. 



SLAVERY followed the natural law of every 
vice or disease — of moving towards health or 
towards dissolution. To denounce it now seems, 
in the words of a distinguished historian, "like 
trampling on a grave " ^ ; the system is in the limbo 
of the inquisition and of witchcraft; a generation 
has sufficed to still much of the passion and hush 
the arguments which fifty years ago possessed the 
minds of the great majority of the South and many 
of the North. They can now only serve to illus- 
trate the extraordinary psychologic aberrations to 
which the best of men are prone and teach the 
charity which all of us are so imapt to extend to 
the opinions of our fellow -man. Its study leads 
to the feeling that in this instance the mantle 
of charity cannot be too broad; it needs to be 
stretched over both North and South. For all 
slave-owners were not vicious ; all anti-slavery men 
were not enemies or wishers of evil to the South. 
Nor were all slaves under the incessant application of 

* Gold win Smith, United States, 221. 

VOL. XIX. — 2 


the lash ; families were not always torn apart, though 
there were enough such instances to point a moral. 

Almost all Americans now agree with Clay's 
dictum that slavery was "a curse to the master 
and a wrong to the slave," but the wrongs of 
the latter had many alleviations, and in the main 
the great body of negroes in slavery enjoyed the 
happiness of an ignorant and unprogressive race 
to which to-day is much more than the morrow. 
It was a race which in its native land, though in 
contact with the highest civilizations through thou- 
sands of years, had not risen beyond the savagery 
which enslaved, destroyed, and sacrificed its kind; 
perhaps the most ancient of mankind, and which 
has come down to us unchanged through the ages 
in company with the gigantic and wonderful fauna 
of its mysterious continent. 

Few of the southern blacks of the period of i860 
were far removed from their ancestral state by an 
interval of more than a hundred and fifty years, a 
short time in which to change the nature of any 
race of men; and the traditions also of the old life 
were kept alive by the steady influx of new African 
blood, seventy thousand being considered a "very 
moderate and even low" estimate of these importa- 
tions into the United States so late as the dec- 
ade 1850 to 1860.^ To the credit side of slavery 
must be placed this transplantation into conditions 
where the characteristic imitativeness of the race 
^ Collins, Domestic Slave Trade ^ 20. 


had an opportunity. It was the African's one real 
stepping-stone to better things. 

Slowly there grew up among all classes of the 
North the feeling which had always existed among 
the few, that slavery was an immense wrong. The 
twenty years from 1835 to 1855, which may be 
taken as the special period of this growth, saw also, 
as natural outcome of an attack, the development 
of a fierce defence, through which the mind of the 
southern states became almost completely unified 
in a belief that slavery was a positive good. This 
feeling, even of God - fearing, upright, and con- 
scientious people in the South, of whom there was 
as large a proportion as in the North, is expressed 
in the reminiscences of a southern lady: "We never 
raised the question for one moment as to whether 
slavery was right. We had inherited the institu- 
tion from devout Christian parents. Slaves were 
held by pious relatives and friends and clergymen 
to whom we were accustomed to look up. The 
system of slave holding was incorporated in our 
laws, and was regulated and protected by them. 
We read our Bible and accepted its teachings as 
the true guide in faith and morals. We under- 
stood literally our Lord's instructions to His chosen 
people and applied them to our circumstances 
and surroundings."^ The Old and New Testaments 
were regarded as impregnable buttresses of their 
faith and practice, and diligently and triumphantly 
^ Clayton, White and Black under the Old Regime, 51. 


quoted as full authority for the social regimen of 
the South. ^ This reliance on Biblical authority per- 
meated the South and is epitomized by Alexander 
H. Stephens in a speech on the Mexican War. " Un- 
til Christianity be overthrown, and some other sys- 
tem of ethics be substituted, the relation of master 
and slave can never be regarded as an offence 
against the Divine laws." ^ 

While the slaves enjoyed, on the face of it, none 
of the essentials of manhood named in the Declara- 
tion of Independence, they probably thought very 
little on the subject, and then vaguely; while the 
certainty of freedom from want, from care for the 
future, from many of the demands of the law 
which touch society in general, went far to make 
up for the loss of liberty and brought them at least 
content. That the mass of negroes in the South 
were not dissatisfied with their condition would 
appear almost self-evident from the fact that dur- 
ing the four years of civil war none sought to 
change their condition by insurrection. This was 
due partly to their affection for their masters, 
partly to their childlike simplicity of mind and 
their ignorance and fear of the unknown; all of 
which last was a portion of the psychical make-up 
which had in the first instance doomed them to 
slavery, which continued to hold them in its all-pow- 
erful grasp, and is still far from having let go its hold. 

^ See Hart, Slavery and Abolition (Am. Nation, XVI.). chap. x. 
2 Cong. Globe, 29 Cong., 2 Sess., App., 354. 


I The fifteen slave-holding states, including Dela- 
ware, with 1798 slaves and 19,829 free colored, and 
Maryland, with 87,189 slaves and 83,942 free col- 
ored, had, in i860, a total population of 12,240,000, 
of whom 8,039,000 were whites, 251,000 free col- 
ored, and 3,950,000 slaves. This was a gain of the 
whole southern population in ten years of 2,627,000, 
or 27.33 per cent. The slaves advanced in num- 
bers 749,931, or 23.44 per cent., the lowest rate for 
many decades. The nineteen free states (includ- 
ing Kansas) and seven territories, together with 
the Federal district, contained 19,201,546 persons 
(including 27,749 Indians), of whom 18,936,579 
were white and 237,218 free colored, a smaller num- 
ber of the latter, it should be observed, than in the 
South. The northern increase in the decade was 
5,598,603, or 41.16 per cent.^ The population of 
the South was thus but little more than two-fifths 
that of the North. Calhoun foresaw, as did others, 
that if a struggle was to come it should come early 
if the South was to have a hope of victory. 

The area of the fifteen slave states was 882,245 
square miles; of the free, 824,622. But it was clear 
by i860 that all the territories would be added to 
the list of the free states, making a free area of 
1,903,204 square miles, or much more than twice 
the extent of the slave, and in this lay the crux of 
southern discontent. 

Virginia, in 1790 the most populous of the states, 
^ U. S. Eighth Census {i860), Preliminary Report, 5. 


with 748,308 people, of whom 293,427 were slaves, 
had dropped to the fifth place, with 1,596,318 in- 
habitants, of whom 490,865 were slaves. New 
York, with but 340,120 in 1790, had in i860 the 
first place, with 3,880,735, of whom all but 49,005 
were whites. The one state had more than doubled ; 
the other had increased more than ten times. Of 
the whites, the increase in Virginia had been 137 
per cent.; South Carolina, 108; North Carolina, 119; 
Maryland, 147. Georgia, however, had increased in 
this period from 52,886 whites to 591,588, a ratio of 
1 1. 1 8, the only one of the original thirteen states of 
' the South to make a showing in any degree com- 
parable with that of the more important states of 
the North. In all the border slave states the white 
population was gaining steadily upon the black. 
The census of 1810 was the last which showed an 
increase of the slaves in Maryland; they reached 
their maximum, 111,502, in 1810, and slowly de- 
creased to 87,189 in i860; the white population had 
nearly doubled. The whites in Virginia increased 
more than twice as fast as the slaves. The ratio of 
whites to slaves in Kentucky had risen steadily 
from three-fourths in 1830 to four-fifths in i860. 

The rapid proportionate increase of whites in Mis- 
souri should have convinced thoughtful minds that 
the fierce struggle for the extension of slavery in 
the territories then included under the name of 
* Nebraska was lost effort, even had it been suc- 
cessful in the first instance. The note of alarm was 


sounded loudly by De Bow, who nevertheless 
makes the error of ascribing the decline to the 
troubles in Kansas instead of to the immigration of 
foreigners. Between 1851 and 1856 the increase of 
slaves in Missouri was 12,492, and of whites 205,- 
703 ; in ten coimties adjoining Iowa they had gained 
238 against an increase of whites of 31,691 ; in twen- 
ty-five counties the slaves had actually decreased 
4412. In i860 Missouri was nine-tenths white. It 
is not surprising to have De Bow, who had become 
eager for distmion, write: "Surrounded on three 
sides by non - slaveholding communities, can any 
one in his right mind expect to see slavery main- 
tain itself in Missouri? Under the present Union 
the border states must all in a short time be lost 
to us. Were the Union at an end, the South 
would become at once a unit, and continue such 
for perhaps a century. The terms of a new con- 
federation would secure this. The Union may be 
and doubtless is on a thousand accounts, very val- 
uable; but let it be understood that this is one of 
the items of the price that is paid for it." ^ 

The system was a serfdom to both races; to the 
black chiefly physically only; but a severe mental 
servitude to the six millions of whites who had no 
connection with slave-holding and who formed more 
than three-fourths of the white population of the 
South. To the vast majority of these people sla- 
very was a complete closure to the higher reaches 

^ De Bow's Review, XXIII., 521 (November, 1857). 


of social and financial well-being; for white labor 
would not compete with slave labor, but was rele- 
gated to the cultivation of petty farms, from which 
a bare subsistence was extracted and a peasantry 
brought into being wretchedly housed, isolated, and 
living a life which through generations was almost 
wholly without civilizing influences. In the low- 
lands this class, by its mere proximity to slave 
labor, sank to lowest depths of ignorance and un- 
thrift, despised by the negro himself, too isolated 
to be able to hold his own against the dead- 
ening influences of his surroundings, and with no 
chance of entering into the knowledge of the world, 
since he was reached by neither book nor school- 

Scattered over the plains and foot-hills from North 
Carolina south were not less than two and a half 
millions of such people, for whom under slavery 
there was no hope; who had no place in southern 
polity or society; who aimed at nothing because 
there was nothing to aim at, and who are only now 
emerging into the light under the influence of the 
new industrial world which has risen in their midst. 
These people, however, were fiercely southern in feel- 
ing through the ever-present need of asserting the 
superiority of their white blood, which was all they 
had to differentiate them in social consideration 
from the lowliest black ; and it was these men, never 
owning a slave, or hoping to own one, who, led by 
the slave-owner, made the military power of the 

i860] slave-holding SOUTH 25 

South and fought the fierce and manly fight of the 
Civil War. 

The condition of this great mass was the direct 
outcome of its segregation from the social organiza- 
tion of the slave-owning class of the South by its 
isolation through want of roads, through want of 
schools, through want of interest on the part of the 
planter in any laboring class but the slave, w4th 
whom in the large slave-owning districts the poor 
whites would not work, and with whom it was not 
desired to have them work. Where slaves were 
smaller in ntimber this last difficulty disappeared 
through a reversal of conditions. On numbers of 
farms in Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia, in 
districts where slaves were few, whites and blacks 
^frequently worked together in good-fellowship and 
harmony; the owner of hundreds of acres, but of 
very few — perhaps three or four — slaves, himself a 
gentleman and perhaps a member of the legislature 
or justice of the peace, lending a hand in the fields 
if occasion needed. 

In a district larger than the German empire, 
stretching in the Appalachian region from the 
northern part of West Virginia into Georgia and 
Alabama, a great bay of mountain and valley 
reaching into the heart of the South, a region in 
which there are thirty-seven peaks higher than 
Mount Washington, there dwell to-day over two 
millions of people whose earlier conditions of isola- 
tion was physical and not social, as was that of their 



lowland brothers of like degree. They are the after- 
math of the great ''crossing," stranded through 
stopping ''to make a crop" to support the family 
through a coming winter. Their vast region was 
without roads, without navigable rivers, but with 
an enchanting scenery of wild and heavily wooded 
mountains, beautiful brooks, and valleys elevated 
into one of the most delightful summer climates of 
the world. 

The mountaineer, though his life was necessarily 
one of a rude half -savagery through its lonely isola- 
tion, retained the independence and hardihood of 
his ancestry. Slavery was almost unknown among 
these men, and w^hen the w^ar came they took 
largely the opposite side from that taken by the 
poor whites of the lowlands, with whom they had 
nothing in common but poverty. iVbraham Lin- 
coln, himself a product of the mountain race and of 
the lowliest of them, is a startling example of their 
possibilities under changed opportunities. In his 
case it was transplantation which gave him growth ; 
but education, enlightenment, and contact with the 
rest of the world, all of w^hich were for generations 
denied them, will yet work similar miracles in this 
great mass. The blood of the people of the Ap- 
palachian region is of the best; it is the blood of 
Boone, of Harrod, of Clark, of the pioneers who 
gained for us the empire of the West, who under 
Jackson — himself one of them — won the victory of 
New Orleans, and under Clark, through the Kas- 


kaskia campaign, enabled our negotiators to make 
the Mississippi our boundary in 1783; above all, it 
is the blood of the mighty and heroic man who 
saved the Union. 

Neither would nor could the laborers of Europe, 
entering our doors by the htmdred thousand, bring 
themselves to a competition with great numbers of 
slaves, more than the poorer w^hites bred in the 
South. Of a foreign-born population of 4,136,175 
in i860, but 118,585 vvere south of the border slave 
states. South Carolina had but 9986; Georgia, 
11,671; Alabama, 12,352; Mississippi, 8588; Lou- 
isiana, 81,029, Texas, 43,422. Missouri had 
nearly as many (160,541) as all the cotton states 
together, a fact which itself should have shown the 
South the impossibility of preserving it a slave state. 

Everywhere throughout the South the small 
farmer was very markedly in the ascendant. In 
Louisiana there were 10,794 farms under 100 acres 
to 6487 larger, of which but 1532 were plantations 
of over 500 acres, and but 371 really great planta- 
tions of over 1000 acres. In Georgia 31,482 out of 
53,897 farms were less than 100 acres, and there 
were but 902 places of over 1000 acres, though 
1000 acres of fair land could be readily bought for 
$5000, and frequently for much less. 

While the South was so strictly agricultural, the 
low value of slave labor became apparent in results. 
It produced in i860, in comparison with the North, 
but one-eightieth the cheese, one-fourth the wheat, 


one-fifth the oats, one-tenth the hay. On the other 
hand, it produced somewhat more than half the 
Indian -corn, two-thirds the swine, five-sixths the 
tobacco, all the cane sugar (40,000,000 poimds of 
maple - sugar were produced in the North) , and all 
the cotton. But the hay alone brought more 
money to the northern farmer than did cotton, 
sugar, and tobacco combined to his fellow-farmer of 
the South. 

There was a like great difference in the manu- 
factures of the two sections. Taking the more im- 
portant industries in the two sections about to be 
formed — the Southern Confederacy of eleven states 
and the remaining twenty-three states of the Union 
in 1 86 1 — the relative values of production, North 
and South, were (in millions) : agricultural imple- 
ments, 16, against ij; iron (pig and other), 39, 
against 2J; steam machinery, 43, against 4; iron- 
founding, 26, against 2J; coal, 19, against J; limi- 
ber, 78, against 18; flour and meal, 193, against 30; 
cotton goods, 108, against 7 ; woollen goods, 6 8 J, 
against 2J; leather, 59, against 4; boots and shoes, 
86, against 2f . The North, in these industries, the 
most important in sustaining the demands of a 
great war, was thus producing at its outbreak to 
the value of 735^ millions, against 75i of the South. 
In the great aggregate of manufactures, the value 
of productions of the two sections stood $1,730,- 
330,000 in the North, against $155,531,000 in the 
eleven southern states of the coming Confederacy. 

i860] slave-holding SOUTH 

The enormous disproportion of two and a half 
times the fighting men, and a manufact-uring pro- 
ductivity eleven times as great, showed, had it 
taken time to think, a hopeless outlook for the 
South should its contention end in war. A close 
blockade, such as was to come, could only mean 
death to Confederate aspirations. The facilities for 
interior transportation were also greatly dispropor- 
tionate; the Southern Confederacy contained 8947 
miles of the total 31,196 of the railways of the 
whole Union; nearly all of this, both North and 
South, was east of the Mississippi; the North had 
about three times as much mileage per square mile 
as the South. ^ 

The great importance of cotton rested not so 
much in its money value as in the fact that it was 
the principal export of the United States and the 
main basis of supply both to Europe and America. 
Of the cotton consimied by the mills of Great 
Britain, continental Europe, and the United States 
in the five years ending August 31, i860, the growth 
of the South supplied an average of 84 J per cent.^ 
Two-thirds of the values exported from the United 
States were thus from the South. The North had 
not as yet become a very great exporter of food 
stuffs or manufactures, but sent quantities of both 
to the South, to be paid for chiefly by the income 
from cotton. In 1855, excluding specie, the total 

^ U. S. Eighth Census (i860), passim. 

2 Shepperson, Cotton Facts (ed. of 1904), p. xi. 


exports amounted to $192,751,000, of which $67,- 
626,000 were from the North and $125,124,000 
from the South, $88,143,000 being in cotton alone. 
If the cotton in manufactures exported by the 
North be added (400,000 bales valued at $2,000,000), 
the value of cotton exported would have exceeded 
the total values exported by the North by $13,- 
000,000. There was thus much ground for the be- 
lief of the South that cotton was king. It was 
difficult for any one to imderstand how it would be 
possible for the spinning world to get on without 
its American supply, how the United States could 
manage its foreign exchanges without the eighty to 
a hundred millions balance supplied by cotton, or 
how the northern farmer or manufacturer could 
withstand the loss of his southern market; for the 
North not only clothed the South, supplied its fur- 
niture and agricultural implements, but in a very 
considerable degree supplied the food, the large 
planters finding it cheaper to buy supplies for the 
slaves in the northern markets than to raise it at 

The impression of some writers of southern birth 
that there was in the southern county towns a de- 
cided anti-slavery sentiment and sense of rivalry to 
the planters has little or no basis. The anti-slavery 
sentiment, instead of increasing, had diminished. 
A strong pro-slavery sentiment existed among men 
who had no personal interest whatever in slavery 
by reason of ownership of slaves ; nor does there ap- 


pear, from the census records at least, that there had 
been such considerable growth of ''handsome and 
fairly enterprising and prosperous county towns." ^ 
The census of i860 could find only fifteen in Ala- 
bama worth mentioning, and of these nine had less 
than a thousand inhabitants, dwindling to as few 
as 117. But two towns in Arkansas rose in degree 
above the merest villages, one having only eighty 
people. Of the thirty -six "cities and towns" in 
Georgia, seventeen were of the same insignificant 
character; Louisiana had but three towns of over 
two thousand population, besides New Orleans (in- 
cluding Algiers) and its capital. Baton Rouge. All 
but five of the tow^ns enimierated in Mississippi were 
small villages. It was the same in North and 
South Carolina, the latter state having but three 
towns, besides Charleston, of over one thousand 
population, and neither of these three having as 
many as seventeen htmdred. Virginia, as is well 
known, was a state of petty villages, the locale of 
the court-house having often so slight a population 
that it had no other popular designation, and the 
census notes places in this state w^ith as few as 
thirty-nine people. 

It is of great importance that there should not 
be a false impression of the economic and social 
conditions of the South of that period. The usual 
descriptions of southern life presented a glamour of 
general well-being and luxury, an impression of con- 
^ Burgess, Cm/ PFar and Constitution, I., 29. 


stant house-to-house visiting, a life of feudal dignity 
and impressiveness, all this pictured by pens guided 
by minds much too imaginative and far from the 
rather prosaic facts. Some of the southern estates 
had handsome houses, a considerable degree of com- 
fort, and, in comparatively rare cases, luxury. The 
life of the largest establishments was, in the main, 
of a somewhat rude plenty, with abundant service, 
and the horses and carriages, without which the life 
would have been imprisonment. Along with this 
there was the hospitality to their kind which such a 
life naturally demands. But it was not a life of 
ease even to the master and still less to the mis- 
tress. The latter supervised the clothing, the doc- 
toring, the nursing of a great family, sometimes of 
hundreds, of a people who never grew out of childish 
ways and simplicity. The master had an overseer, 
and his province was mainly the fields, but the 
master's wife was a woman of many and varied 
burdens, whose life was as far as possible from 
frivolity and ease; and the greater the estate the 
greater the burdens. There was a spirit of self- 
sacrifice and acceptance of the hard duties of the 
situation, a serious recognition of obligation to the 
childlike race committed to their care, for which the 
women of the South should have the highest meed 
of praise. It was the cultivation of a noble life, 
and made the brightest side of slavery. 

How few were the well-to-do is shown by the fact 
that only 10,781 families held as many as fifty or 


more slaves in i860, and these may, without great 
error, be taken as representing the number of the 
larger productive estates of the South. The great 
plantations in rice, cotton, or sugar were held by the 
1733 owners of as many as 100 slaves. Of the 52,- 
128 slave-holders in Virginia, one-third held but one 
or two slaves ; half held one to four ; there were but 
114 persons in the whole state who owned as many 
as 100 each, and this out of a population of over 
a million whites.^ On the supposition that each 
slave-holder in the Union represented a family of 
five persons, there were in the whole South in i860 
less than two million persons, old and young, di- 
rectly interested in slavery through ownership, as 
against over six million whites who had no slave 
property or interests, and whose ow^n interest it 
would be supposed would be felt to be directly an- 
tagonistic to the system through competition in all 
branches of labor and through the social inferiority, 
that most galling of feelings to the American man, 
and more especially to the American woman, which 
non-ownership of slaves involved. Even a South 
Carolina journal, itself of secessionist views, could 
quote the following with approval from another 
paper of the same state: ''The white mechanic is 
forced to eke out half a living beside the sturdy 
negro who fattens upon a price for his labor at 
which a white man cannot work with anything like 

^ See estimates in Hart, Slavery and Abolition {Am. Nation, 
XVI.), chap. V. 

VOL. XIX. — 3 


an effort to maintain the distinction to which he 
should aspire. He is not only forced to labor for 
the same remimeration as the slave mechanic, but 
oftentimes finds difficulty in securing work enough 
to keep him employed on accoimt of the plenitude 
of negro mechanics and the accommodating terms 
upon which they may be obtained." * 

That this body of three-fourths the white men of 
the whole South should have fought stubbornly for 
four years to fasten more completely bonds w^hich 
restricted them to every inferiority of life is one of 
the extraordinary facts of history. It was a dis- 
franchised population almost as fully as the negro, 
in so far as any part in the higher and directive 
life of the country was concerned. No one of them 
ever appeared in any office of importance imless re- 
turned from the sections where slavery had slight 
hold. But this was no small part of the South; 
in the counties of Virginia now forming West Vir- 
ginia, with a population of 376,886 (about one- 
third that of the entire state), there were but 18,497 
slaves, of whom 11,235 were in the nine counties 
bordering on what is now Virginia. The north- 
western part of the state, with a white population 
of 175,006, had but 1797 slaves, or one to every 
100 whites. The eastern parts of Tennessee and 
Kentucky, the western region of North Carolina 
and northern Georgia, while not so marked, were 

* Edgefield Advertiser, January 18, i860, quoting Camden (S. C.) 


akin to this in conditions. In fact, West Virginia 
and parts of the states just mentioned had, as had 
Delaware, the attributes practically of free states. 

The decayed and decaying agriculture of Vir- 
ginia and of North and South Carolina caused, par- 
ticularly from the last two, a great drift of owners 
and negroes to the cotton belt. It is a common 
error, however, to suppose that white Virginians 
went farther south in great numbers. Nearly four 
hundred thousand persons born in Virginia were, in 
i860, living in other states, and only 68,341 had 
come in to offset this loss ; only about fifty thousand 
had gone south. The chief migration from Vir- 
ginia was to Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, 
and Indiana; there were 75,874 in Ohio alone. 
South Carolina, with her meagre 276,868 people, 
had living in other states 193,389 of her sons and 
daughters, 50,112 in Georgia, 45,185 in Alabama, 
and 26,577 Mississippi. South Carolina was, in 
fact, a decaying, or at least a stationary, state; the 
237,440 whites of 1820 had only become 291,388 in 
i860, and the emigrants to states farther south car- 
ried their slaves with them. 

The trade in negroes was great and continuous 
from all the more northern slave states. Kentucky 
and Tennessee furnished largely, sometimes many, 
sometimes fewer ; the drift from Maryland and Vir- 
ginia was continuous and on a large scale. Niles, 
always conservative and trustworthy, says: "The 
march of the slaves is south, south. Already they 


may be said to have crossed the Potomac — for in 
Maryland they are not generally esteemed as a per- 
manent possession, and the sale of them for the 
supply of the southern 'market' checks their in- 
crease in this state. Free white laborers are tak- 
ing their place in our most flourishing counties ; and 
as some will not sell them, 'runaways' are not so 
ardently sought for. There is a larger export from 
Virginia. 'Old Virginia' has a lessened use for 
them, new Virginia will not receive them, and Mid- 
dle Virginia is already pretty well filled with indus- 
trious freemen." ^ 

» Niles' Register, XLV., 180. 



(1850- i860) 

CALHOUN'S ascendency over the southern mind 
is a basal historic element of our national life. 
Its study includes the political history of the South 
from 1830 to 1850 and the springs of southern action 
thenceforward until the sword put an end to de- 
bate. He was the amanuensis of his state when it 
desired to declare a policy, and in the Senate he 
was the prophet whose pronouncements were as a 
gospel to the South, which moulded itself to his 
views. From 1833 onward he urged an interpreta- 
tion of the Constitution which legitimatized, in the 
southern mind, the extremity of action in 1861. 
The history of the movement towards secession is 
part of the story of his life and influence. Never 
has man exercised a more complete intellectual 
dominancy over his section, but sadly to its un- 

Calhoun was a constitutionalist, but he obeyed a 
greater power than the Constitution — the necessity 
of preserving the society of which he was a part. 


His strength lay in believing in the wisdom and 
righteousness of the southern social organization. 
Crittenden was right when he said that Calhoun, 
while seeing clearly the tendency of events, was 
unable to restrain himself from focussing the mind 
of the country upon the unhappy subject, and 
unable to see that his own action upon the subject 
of petitions had given the greatest impetus to the 
feeling he wished to allay/ His habit of thrust- 
ing forward the dogmas of which he was so fond, 
and which apparently had lain dormant in his mind 
until hope of the presidency had passed, after 
which he felt free to be true to himself, could have 
no result but impassioned and limitless debate, the 
necessary result of which was to spread throughout 
the South, by official publication, a literature similar 
in character to that for the repression of which he 
was willing to alter the character of the govern- 
ment. Resolutions such as those he finally pressed 
to a vote were simply abstractions; their passage 
could effect nothing, could bind no other persons, 
organization, or state. Their futility was perfectly 
expressed by Adams in a resolution offered Decem- 
ber 13, 1838 — "That the powers of Congress, being 
conferred by the Constitution of the United States, 
no resolution of this House can add to or deduct 
from them." ^ 

Every step of the kind Calhoun took, every for- 

* Cong. Globe, 25 Cong., 2 Sess., App., 55. 
2 Ibid., 3 Sess., 33. 


1 mal expression of his peculiar views of the situation, 
only gave new ground for the abolitionists to stand 
upon, and took from the northern friends of the 
South their arguments for quietude. His peculiar 
characteristics made him a disrupter of our national 
fabric in spite of himself. He recognized every ex- 
plosive charge laid by the Constitution and by the 
circumstances of the South, and, where not already 
laid, he placed others of his own invention, and 
could not resist lighting every fuse. 

Calhoun's ability "to look to the farthest conse- 
quences of every question ' ' has been dwelt upon by 
many writers, notably by Von Hoist, but his fore- 
casts were no more remarkable than those of Jeffer- 
son, John Quincy Adams, and others. It was per- 
fectly clear to every thoughtful man that the slavery 
question was an imminent danger to the Union. To 
Calhoun the danger appeared only in permitting 
the abolitionists and even the anti-slavery men to 
meet, discuss, print, and petition upon slavery. He 
called on them to drop the subject, and all would 
be happy; but he himself was the great, insistent 
discusser, and, through the instrumentality of the 
government, the printer and distributer of the dis- 
cussions. He insisted upon slavery taking prece- 
dence in importance of any other question; for 
this he would muzzle the press, search the mails, 
make the laws of the individual states overbear the 
Federal statutes, and reduce the Federal government 
to a nullity which could only end in disintegration. 


His theories, taken together, led straight to an- 

If Calhoun had the ''prophetic vision" and the 
logical mind with which so many endowed him, 
should he not have been able to see this result as 
clearly as others saw it then and all see it now? 
There could be only one excuse for Calhoim's pol- 
icy — the hope of extending slavery throughout the 
Union. If such possibility existed, he was justified, 
logically, in all he said and did. Otherwise we can 
only suppose him blind to the great moral change 
in mankind, to the greater feeling of brotherhood 
which had come over the world, and which among 
civilized powers was rapidly making slavery impos- 

The steamship, the railv/ay, the press, the post- 
office, though yet in infancy, were even then great 
instriHnentalities of this change. It is difficult for 
us now to conceive of the almost absolute separa- 
tion of individuals and commimities which ruled 
even much less than a hundred years ago. Inter- 
change of thought was confined to the very few, 
and ignorance, dense as that of the Middle Ages, 
reigned among much of the mass the world over. 
Calhoun, born before this change, and, but for 
his time at Yale College, reared amid surroundings 
which had not felt the touch of the new life, dwelt, 
physically and mentally, in this mediaeval atmos- 
phere, thought slavery a blessing, believed that a 
superior race had a right to enslave an inferior one, 



and was ready to suppress all dissent in such a ques- 
tion, whether founded upon moral and religious 
grounds or on any other. To suppose that a string 
of resolutions, passed by thirty or forty men sitting 
in the Senate chamber, could stop millions from 
thinking and from acting within their plainest rights 
was not the belief of a sane mind. 

Calhoun's spirit is revealed in an accoimt of a 
two hours' conversation recorded by Horace Binney 
in 1834: ''He obviously considered society as con- 
sisting only of two classes, the poor who were un- 
educated, and doomed to serve, and the men of 
property and education, to whom the service was 
to be rendered. Regarding these two classes as 
discriminating the people of Pennsylvania as much 
as South Carolina, he said, emphatically, 'The 
poor and imeducated are increasing; there is no 
power in a republican government to repress them; 
their number and disorderly tempers will make 
them in the end efficient enemies of the men of 
property. They have the right to vote, they will 
finally control your elections, and by bad laws or 
by violence they will invade your houses and turn 
you out. Education will do nothing for them ; they 
will not give it to their children ; it will do them no 
good if they do. They are hopelessly doomed as a 
mass to poverty, from generation to generation; 
and from the political franchise they will increase 
in influence and desperation until they overturn 
you. The institution of slavery cuts off this evil 


by the root. The whole body of our servants, 
whether in the family or in the field, are removed 
from all influence upon the white class by the de- 
nial of all political rights. They have no more 
tendency to disturb the order of society than an 
overstock of horses or oxen. They have neither 
power nor ambition to disturb it. They can be 
kept in order by methods which a republican gov- 
ernment, as well as a monarchical or a military one, 
can apply. They have no jealousy of the other 
class, nor the other of them. They never stand on 
the same platform with the white class. They only 
require supervision and domestic discipline to keep 
them in good order; and such means are easily ap- 
plied and become normal in the state. The white 
class is therefore left to pursue without apprehen- 
sion the means they think best to elevate their own 
condition. Slavery is indispensable to a republican 
government. There cannot be a durable republican 
government without slavery.' " ^ 

Of Calhoun's love of the Union there can be no 
question, but the Union had to be one which shel- 
tered slavery. He moved gradually to this attitude. 
As a member of Monroe's cabinet he had, in the 
Missouri question, along with Craw^ford and Wirt, 
accepted the principle of freedom applied to terri- 
tories in the Ordinance of 1787 ; he had had leanings 
to protection in the earlier part of his congressional 
career; but he had thrown over such views, and the 

* Binney, Binney, 313^ 


"Exposition" of the South Carolina legislature, 
which he wrote in 1828/ and his letter of August 28, 
1832, to Governor Hamilton, written for the guid- 
ance of the convention to meet in the following 
November,^ was the torch which lighted the way to 
the establishment of the Southern Confederacy. 

Calhoun's pre-eminence as the champion of the 
South began with this defence of nullification from 
1828 to 1833, though South Carolina went much 
further in her resolves, in her threats, and in her 
military preparations than Calhoun had expected. 
Jackson's determined attitude, his reinforcement of 
the Charleston forts, the occupancy of Charleston 
harbor by ships of war, the indisposition of other 
states to follow her lead, and the passage of the 
force bill were events which would have had much 
deeper significance but for Clay's compromise on the 
tariff, which left a moral victory with South Caro- 
lina. Seldom, judged by the logic of events, has 
there been greater fatuity than in the action of Clay 
and his weak supporters, which made war in the 
not distant future a certainty. 

But the force bill gave Calhoun opportunity for 
perhaps his ablest effort in his speech of February 
13, 1833, on his resolutions of January 22, which in 
power and ability was the equal of that of his great 
opponent, Webster, whose answer, January 30, with 
his earlier speech in reply to Hayne, made him the 
idol of the Unionists, North and South. It was 

* Calhoun, T^or^5, VL, 1-59. ^ 144-193. 


upon the principles of Calhoun's resolutions that the 
South took its stand; it was upon the principles of 
Webster's answer that the North fought the Civil 
War. They need to be quoted here, though, in fact, 
they never came to a vote. 

Calhoun's resolutions were The propositions maintain- 
as follows : ed by Webster were : 

"That the people of the That the Constitution 
several states . . . are united of the United States is not a 
as parties to a constitutional league, confederacy, or corn- 
compact to which the peo- pact between the people of 
pie of each state acceded as the several states in their 
a separate sovereign com- sovereign capacities; but a 
munity, each binding itself government proper, founded 
by its own particular ratifi- on the adoption of the peo- 
cation; and that the Union pie, and creating direct re- 
... is a union between the lations between itself and 
states ratifying the same. individuals. 

"That the people of the "2. That no state has au- 

several states . . . delegated thority to dissolve these re- 

to that government . . . lations; that nothing can 

certain definite powers, re- dissolve them but revolu- 

serving at the same time, tion; and that consequently 

each state to itself, the re- there can be no such thing 

siduary mass of powers, to as secession without revolu- 

be exercised by its own sep- tion. 

arate government; and that "3. That there is a su- 
whenever the general gov- preme law, consisting of the 
ernment assumes . . . powers Constitution of the United 
not delegated by the com- States, and acts of Congress 
pact, its acts are ... of no passed in pursuance of it, 
effect; and that the same and treaties; and that, in 
government is not made the cases not assuming the char- 
final judge of the powers acter of a suit in law of 
delegated to it, since that equity, Congress must judge 
would make its discretion, of and finally interpret this 


and not the Constitution, supreme law so often as it 
the measure of its powers; has occasion to pass acts of 
but that, as in all other legislation ; and in cases capa- 
cases of compact among ble of assuming the character 
sovereign parties, without ... of a suit, the Supreme 
any common judge, each Court of the United States is 
has an equal right to judge the final interpreter, 
for itself, as well of the in- "4. That an attempt by a 
fraction as of the mode and state to abrog-ate, annul, or 
measure of redress. nullify any act of Congress, 

"That the assertions that or to arrest its operation 
the people of these United within her limits, on the 
States, taken collectively as groimd that, in her opinion, 
individuals, are now or ever such law is unconstitutional, 
have been united on the is a direct usurpation on 
principle of the social com- the just powers of the gen- 
pact, and as such are now eral government, and on the 
formed into one nation or equal rights of the states, a 
people, or that they have plain violation of the Con- 
ever been so united . . . ; stitution, and a proceeding 
that the people of the sev- essentially revolutionary in 
eral states . . . have not . . . its character and tendency." * 
retained their sovereignty; 
that the allegiance of their 
citizens has been transferred 
to the general government; 
that they have parted with 
the right of punishing trea- 
son through their respective 
state governments; and that 
they have not the right of 
judging in the last resort as 
to the extent of the powers 
reserved, and, of conse- 
quence, of those delegated; 
are not only without f ounda- 

* Curtis, Webster, I., 450. 


tion in truth, but are con- 
trary to the most certain 
and plain historical facts 
and the clearest deductions 
of reason ; and all exercise of 
power . . . claiming au- 
thority from so erroneous 
assumptions must of neces- 
sity be unconstitutional, 
must tend directly to sub- 
vert the sovereignty of the 
states, to destroy the federal 
character of the Union, and 
to rear on its ruins a con- 
solidated government, with- 
out constitutional check or 
limitation, and which must 
necessarily terminate in the 
loss of liberty itself." * 

From this period on, Calhoun took the r61e in 
American politics of a Cassandra; every speech was 
a prediction of impending woe and every stand 
taken was increasingly impossible for the North to 
accept. His treatment of the question of incendiary 
documents; his denial of the right of the petitioner 
to the acceptance by Congress, of his petition; his 
extraordinary committal, in his correspondence as 
secretary of state, of the government of the United 
States to the view that the freedom of the negro 
would not be tolerated in Texas, and that the 
United States was forced to annex the country 
rather than such freedom should exist; his leader- 

^ Debates of Congress, IX., 191-. 


I ship in the action of southern legislatures in 1847 
j against the Wilmot proviso, of which his resolutions 
I of February 17 of that year (which were never 
j brought to a vote) were the cue — all these acts mark 
I him as under the obsession of an evil genius which 
I forced him to stir the fires of sectionalism.^ For 
twenty years his gloomy mind and great powers 
j were absorbed in the work; and when his life 
j ended, the South was already prepared for the 
fatal leap from the precipice to which he had 
: led it. 

I But to fully understand the lengths to which he 
had allowed his views to stray we must look to a 
j letter of the stormy period of 1847 written by Cal- 
! houn to a member of the Alabama legislature. In 
I this he declared it necessary to force the issue upon 
the North, as the South was now stronger relatively 
than it would be later. "Delay to us," he said, 
"will be dangerous indeed." He welcomed the 
Wilmot proviso as an occasion of successfully as- 
serting the South's equality. "Something of the 
kind was indispensable to rouse and unite the 
South; ... I would regard any compromise or ad- 
justment of the proviso, or even its defeat, without 
meeting the danger in its whole length and breadth 
as very unfortunate for us. It would lull us to 
sleep again without removing the danger." His 
remedy — a most extraordinary one for a constitu- 

1 See Hart, Slavery and Abolition, chap, xviii. ; Garrison, West- 
ward Extension, chap. xvi. {Am. Nation, XVI., XVII.) 



tionalist — ^was to refuse the right of northern ships 
and commerce to enter southern ports, leaving open 
the trade of the Mississippi Valley, so as to detach 
the Northwest from the northeastern states, and for 
this to be effective a convention of all the southern 
states would be indispensable. ''The non- slave- 
holding states would be compelled to observe the 
stipulations of the constitution in our favor, or 
abandon their trade with us, or to take measures 
to coerce us, which w^ould throw upon them the 
responsibility of dissolving the Union." * 

March 4, 1850, the country heard Calhoun's last 
formal utterance on the subject which filled his 
mind and dominated his soul. It was a comparison 
of northern and southern expansion, showing how 
the South had lost in political power through the 
Ordinance of 1787 and the establishment of the 
Missouri Compromise line. Had neither existed, he 
argued, the South would have divided the immigra- 
tion with the North, would thus have equalled it in 
population, and would have maintained an equality 
in number of states ; the result had been to give the 
North an absolute control over the government, so 
that wherever there was a diversity of interests 
those of the South would be sacrificed. The next 
day, in an interlocution with Foote, of Mississippi, 
he embodied his thought in a single sentence — . . . 
" I will say — and I say it boldly — that as things now 
stand thf?^ southern states cannot remain in the 
* See Benton, Thirty Years'. View, 11., 698-700. 


Union." ^ Four weeks later he was dead. His 
work was completed ; he had attained his aim — the 
practical subjection of the southern mind to the 
view that the South could not remain in the Union 
unless on its own terms. 

Two other great figures in Congress in this gen- 
eration shared w4th Calhoun the nation's interest: 
Clay, representing slavery in its mildest form ; Web- 
ster, the reasonable antagonism of the North. All 
three showed in their attitude on the question the 
overpowering influence of environment. Clay, how- 
ever, was the insistent compromiser; he w^as never 
able to see that a deep sentiment could not be set 
aside by a trade in principles ; that the best of com- 
promises — and such he regarded the great com- 
promise of 1850 — could produce but a condition of 
unstable equilibriimi. His anxiety for the Union 
overpowered, in this, his judgment, which was true 
and sound as to slavery extension. In answer to 
Jefferson Davis's proposed ultimatimi (January, 
1850), of the extension of the Missouri line to the 
Pacific, he could say, " coming from a slave state as 
I do, I owe it to myself, I owe it to truth, I owe it 
to the subject, to say that no earthly power could 
induce me to vote for a specific measure for the in- 
troduction of slavery where it had not before ex- 
isted, either south or north of that [Missouri] line."^ 

Whatever criticism may be made of Clay's and 

1 Calhoun, Works, IV., 575. 

^Cong. Globe, 31 Cong., i Sess., 249. 

VOL. XIX. — 4 


Webster's attitudes in this stirring and hazardous 
year, there can be no question of their lofty patriot- 
ism and overpowering anxiety for the preservation 
of the Union. The country owed much to Webster 
besides that due to his classic speeches in the nulli- 
fication period. He was a great instrument for the 
nationalization of the Union through one of his 
chief victories in law: the case Gibbons vs. Ogden 
(1824), which involved the question of monopoly of 
steam navigation in the waters of a state, grant- 
ed by New York to Fulton and Livingston. The 
decision of the supreme court in this case fixed the 
meaning of what thus became a momentous phrase 
of the Constitution, ''The Congress shall have power 
to regulate commerce among the several states." 
It was a decision w^hich became a mighty element 
in cementing the Union. ^ A consistent opponent of 
slavery and its extension; opposed to the annexa- 
tion of Texas and to the Mexican war, to Webster's 
anxiety for the Union was due the conservatism of 
his Seventh of March speech (1850) which called 
upon his head the deepest wrath of the abolitionists 
and the unjust censure of many who were not of the 
fanatical party of the anti-slavery public. He saw 
as clearly as Calhoun whither the Union was tending 
imder the excitement of the South, and could say 
at this moment "your eyes and mine are never 
destined to see that miracle [of peaceable seces- 
sion]. ... I see that . . . [disruption] must produce . . . 
* Cf. Reed, Brothers'. War, 140. 


such a war as I will not describe in its twofold 
character." * It was this feeling which caused the 
utterances in this speech, which with Webster's ac- 
ceptance of the iinfortunate and exasperating fugi- 
tive-slave law of the compromise (the latter a pro- 
foimd error both of judgment and heart) brought 
a condemnation throughout the North which de- 
stroyed his influence, embittered the short re- 
mainder of his life, and hastened his death. 

No more common-sense statement could have 
been made than that by Webster, that California 
and New Mexico were "destined to be free ... .by 
the arrangement of things ordained by the Power 
above us. ... I would put in no Wilmot Proviso, 
for the mere purpose of a taunt or a reproach. I 
would put into it no evidence of the votes of superior 
power, ... to wound the pride, whether a just and 
a rational pride, or an irrational pride, of the citi- 
zens of the southern states. . . . Whether they ex- 
pect to realize any benefit from it or not, they 
would think it at least a plain theoretic wrong." 
In these words was an epitome of the situation. 
Webster was right when he said "there is not at 
this moment within the United States, or any ter- 
ritory of the United States, a single foot of land, 
the character of which, in regard to its being free 
territory or slave territory, is not fixed by some 
law, and some irrepealable law, beyond the power 
of the action of the government." ^ 

* Webster, Works, V., 361. 2 jjyid., 340, 351. 


Had the statesmen North and South accepted 
the dispassionate and wise views of this speech 
there might have been many years of calm, and 
perhaps as an end, could the fugitive-slave law have 
been modified to a more kindly form, a general dis- 
position such as that expressed by Webster, "to in- 
cur almost any degree of expense" for a scheme of 
colonization upon a large scale. One southerner at 
least accepted his convictions as to conditions. Jef- 
ferson Davis himself said "the climate of Kansas 
and Nebraska was altogether unsuited to the negro 
and the soil was not adapted to those productions 
for which negro labor could be profitably employed. 
. . . As white laborers adapted to the climate and 
its products flowed into the coimtry, negro labor 
would have inevitably become a tax to those who 
held it, and their emancipation would have fol- 
lowed that condition as it has in all the Northern 
states old and new — Wisconsin furnishing the last 
example." ^ 

That slavery should have been prohibited by 
mandatory act, had invasion of these territories 
by it been imminent, all now must agree, but it is 
questionable if it was wise statesm^anship to pass a 
law of supererogation, and one which could only 
have been a profound irritant to a great section. 
Neither the Wilmot proviso nor the South 's con- 
tention could have any practical result beyond 
placing the two sections finally in an attitude of 

^ Davis, Confederate Government, I., 30. 


strong antagonism, though of an intensity in the 
South far from dreamed of at the North, where 
feeHng, except among the few, was very mild in 

The strength of those antagonistic to slavery ex- 
tension lay in waiting ; the greater basis of northern 
representation in Congress, now rapidly increasing, 
with the certainty that the adverse sentiment of 
the North to slavery must in the very nature of 
things increase and not diminish, made it certain 
that, whatever the attempts by the South, no 
further annexations of territory would be made to 
the southward. That a fear of such annexations 
existed is unquestionably true, but it was baseless 
by reason of the impossibility of such a concession 
on the part of the North, even at this period. 
Cuba even now, without slavery, is not a part of 
the Union. The nation had been sufficiently sati- 
ated with conquest for many years, but those who 
so pressed the Wilmot proviso and kindred legisla- 
tion were impelled by a like psychical force with 
that which drove the South towards its impossible 



^HAT every ebullition of feeling in this stormy 

and acceptance of the situation, showed the strong 
desire of the people North and South to live in 
accord. However strong the passions involved in 
the Missouri controversy, the compromise of 1820 
met with so general an acceptance that the prin- 
ciple involved did not reappear imtil brought for- 
ward by new issues. That this discussion had not 
changed the moderate views of slavery held in the 
border states at the time was shown by the strong 
invectives against slavery in the Virginia legislature 
in 1832/ 

The nullification action of South Carolina, in a 
way, strengthened the feeling for the Union; for 
it brought out the pow^erful defence of Webster, 
which, whether it fully met the arguments of Cal- 
houn or no, was accepted as conclusive by the 
coimtry at large ; and it was significant that Jackson 
himself based his nullification proclamation upon 
* Hart, Slavery and Abolition {Am. Nation, XVI.), chap. xii. 

following period of quiescence 


Webster's answer to Hayne. The president's ac- 
tion gave the country a new view of the federal 
power to act; and argument and action combined 
to foster a feeling of security which dominated the 
North, and strongly affected the South, to the very 
eve of actual secession. 

The success of abolitionism of the Garrison type 
was in the too -ready acceptance of the South to 
take up the gauntlet. The South was demoral- 
ized by a movement which, if it could have been 
quietly ignored, would have lost itself in the more 
reasonable anti- slavery sentiment, the growth of 
which the conditions of the age made certain. The 
abolitionists scorned the idea of compensation to 
slave-holders, though that remedy, foimd in the 
speeches of Seward as well as of Webster, was grow- 
ing in favor, and, had the South shown the slightest 
willingness to accept the freedom of the negro under 
any conditions, might have become a working basis 
for such action.^ The results of manumission in 
the West Indies, however, which brought financial 
ruin to the great majority of planters, and the fear 
of the political equality of the negro, aided in sup- 
porting the view of Calhoim that emancipation was 
an impossible supposition. 

"Whatever," said McDowell, of Virginia, in 1850, 
"the opinions I have expressed or entertain upon 
the institution of slavery in the abstract, I have 

^ Cf. Hart, Slavery and Abolition {Am. Nation, XVI.), chap, 


never doubted for a moment, that as the white and 
black races now live together in the southern states, 
it is an indispensable institution for them both." ^ 
This, coming from one who had made an eloquent 
plea for emancipation in the Virginia Legislature in 
1832, and who "had acquired a national reputation 
by his ardent patriotism, his broad and statesman- 
like views in pleading for the best interests of his 
own commonwealth," ^ marks a change in southern 
sentiment regarding mantimission. If a wise con- 
servative could utter such an opinion, the notion 
of freedom through purchase was hopeless. 

The abolition societies had their apogee before 
1840. The explosive elements which the}^ included 
brought dissensions among themselves which be- 
came fatal to their influence as organizations. 
Amos A. Phelps, " one of the earliest and ablest of 
the writers, orators and organizers of the anti- 
slavery movement," in resigning his membership, 
in 1839, of its board of managers, said, "The society 
is no longer an anti-slavery society simply, but in 
its principles and modes of action has become a 
women's -rights, non-government, anti-slavery so- 
ciety." ^ "At this time," says Wilson (than whom 
there can be no authority more favorable to the 
abolitionists), "there were probably two thousand 
societies in the country, containing, it was esti- 

* Cong. Globe, 31 Cong., i Sess., App., 1678. 
2 Wilson, Slave Power, II., 288. 
Ubid., I., 415. 


mated, some two hundred thousand members. 
They had, however, already attained their maxi- 
mum of numbers and influence, and had accom- 
plished the largest share of their peculiar work. 
Afterward their numbers and distinctive labors 
were diminished rather than increased." ^ 

More effective than anything else in rousing anti- 
southern feeling in the North (using this phrase as 
distinct from anti-slavery sentiment) was the strug- 
gle in Congress in 1835 over the acceptance of anti- 
slavery literature in the mails, and the continuance, 
for several years thereafter, of bitter debate on the 
question of anti-slavery petitions: the existence of 
an institution which could not even permit dis- 
cussion in the press, once realized by the northern 
public, doomed that institution. The unwise vitu- 
peration of so many of the southern papers ; their 
asking the impossible ; their inability to see that the 
attempt to stifle discussion was revolution, and that 
the denial of the right of petition or the suppression 
of petitions was touching a right dear to all free 
people, gave the impetus to a new sentiment which 
slowly came over the North, and which in its be- 
ginnings was against southern ideals and action, 
against the arrogant and dictatorial tone of southern 
public men and the insult and abuse in the southern 
journals, rather than against slavery as a thing not 
to be tolerated. 

The general acquiescence in the compromise of 

^ Wilson, Slave Power, I., 422. 


1850, despite sporadic disunion movements in the 
South, shows how strong was the Unionist feeling. 
Had not the South committed the folly of forcing 
the passage of a new fugitive - slave law imneces- 
sarily severe and tmfair, and had not the Kansas- 
Nebraska bill been brought forward in 1854, it is 
not unreasonable to suppose that the status of good 
feeling would have indefinitely extended itself, and 
much would have been settled by natural causes. 
There was a lull 'of political strife in the South which 
brought to silence the agitators of the Quitman and 
Yancey type ; the cotmtry was prosperous and con- 
tent in general, except for sporadic cases of violent 
opposition to the execution of the fugitive - slave 
law, but even these were apparently diminishing. 
Seemingly, the disimionism of 1850 was buried in 
the overwhelming victory which brought Pierce to 
the presidency, the Democratic party to a domi- 
nancy more complete than ever before, and the 
Whigs to annihilation. 

Much as Douglas has been blamed, both for act 
and motive, in rousing the country from its calm 
by bringing forward squatter sovereignty in the 
Kansas-Nebraska act, and in being the instrimient 
for abolishing the Missouri Compromise, despite his 
earlier views of the sacred character of the com- 
promise of 1820, he was but yielding to an tincon- 
scious pressure which he could not resist. He "rode 
the whirlwind" but did not "direct the storm." 
Though he averred that the bill was all his own, he 


was acting under a sub-conscious southern pressure 
felt by his quick soul to be as actual, as mandatory, 
and as necessary to Democratic success as if specifi- 
cally formulated by the party caucus. He little 
foresaw that the gloss he put upon this was to be 
the disruption of the Democratic party and his own 
ruin. The Kansas-Nebraska bill, supplemented by 
the emotions which overran the cotmtry under the 
influence of Uncle Tom's Cabin, a book which drew 
with irresistible power a picture of slavery w^hich 
outside the South was accepted the world over as 
true of the whole, gave new force to the resistance 
to the fugitive-slave law and swept the North into 
an opposition which culminated in the formation of 
the Republican party, developed from abstract an- 
tagonism into concrete civil war in Kansas, and, in 
the election of 1856, reared a spectre, the mere ap- 
prehension of which, to the South, was to end in 
secession. The dictum of the supreme court in the 
Dred-Scott case, the decision in which was given 
out but two days after Buchanan's inauguration, 
gave the final blow to northern patience in the 
slavery question. 

There still, in 1859, remained over eight hundred 
thousand square miles in territories, enough, meas- 
ured by mere area, to make eighteen states of the 
size of New York or Pennsylvania, but which, as 
pointed out elsewhere, even Davis, to whom the 
mantle of Calhoun had fallen, acknowledged was 
unfitted for slavery. 


The contention of the South was thus a violation 
of every principle of logic and' in the face of the 
great fact that European emigration must naturally 
overwhelm slave labor in regions in which land was 
sold so cheap. Nearly three and a half millions of 
immigrants arrived in the years 1848-1858/ a num- 
ber within half a million of the total number of 
slaves in the Union ; and it was impossible that any 
southern migration could compete with this, par- 
ticularly as it was not the well-to-do owner of slaves 
who would attempt to establish himself in a new 
and, to the southerner, inhospitable region, in 
which, even on his own theory, slavery might be 
abolished when the territory became a state. 

The bloody story of Kansas; the formation of 
emigration societies North and South, but in much 
greater numbers in the North; the arming of the 
emigrants ; the development of a minor civil war, is 
told elsewhere in these volumes.^ It was but a 
phase of the extension and development of two 
civilizations antagonistic in every fibre of their 
nature ; a struggle between the men who desired an 
opportunity to work with their own hands and 
those who thought it right to own and use an in- 
ferior race to do the labor which they directed. 

Nothing in the history of the subject presents a 
more curious psychological problem than the action 
at this period of the statesmen of the South in their 

* 3,416,923. U. S. Eighth Census (1S60) ,Prelimmary Report, i^, 
2 Smith, Parties and Slavery {Am. Nation, XVIII.). 


insistence that the North should yield to a demand 
absolutely empty unless they looked to new ex- 
tensions of territory to the south in which slavery 
could actually be applied. The suspicion of a 
project of expansion southward was confirmed by 
President Buchanan's attempt to purchase Cuba 
and to occupy a part of Mexico, termed by the 
message "a wreck upon the ocean, drifting about 
as she is impelled by different factions." * The 
South had also good reason to hope that the fili- 
buster William Walker would succeed in Nicaragua, 
and that Central America would be added as a field 
for slavery extension.^ Without such hopes as to 
Mexico and the regions farther south, it is impos- 
sible to understand the bitterness of southern con- 
tention as to territorial rights after 1857, except as 
the barest and emptiest sentiment. 

More logical and equally destructive of good feel- 
ing between the sections was the wide-spread move- 
ment for the reopening of the African slave-trade, 
based on the claim that the South had too few 
slaves, and that the supply must be reinforced by 
importation; a claim which reversed the logic of 
diffusion of slavery applied to the territories. The 
price of a good field-hand had risen in the cotton 
states to as much as $2000, and was still rising. 
The consumption of cotton was increasing at the 

1 Richardson, Messages and Papers, V., 568. 

2 See Walker, "Central American Affairs," in De Bow's Re- 
view, XXVIIL, 154 (February, i860). 


rate of over six per cent, per annum. If that rate 
was to be kept up and met, besides the natural in- 
crease, an additional 70,000 field-hands, or, with their 
families, 215,000 slaves, would be needed in the 
cotton-growing states in the five years from 1855 
to i860, which would mean an additional yearly in- 
vestment in such labor of $44,000,000.^ With rea- 
son it was asked, "Where are they to come from?" 
No wonder that, with their now passionate belief in 
slavery, many in the South favored the reopening 
of the African slave-trade. But why, in the face of 
such needs, and of such values as those to which 
the slave had risen, should there be a wish to still 
further deplete the labor of the cotton states and 
raise prices to a prohibitive point by transporting 
to the territories such labor already employed in 
its most profitable field — cotton? That territorial 
slavery should have been to the interest of the 
border states, whose only real interest was in the 
sale of the negroes, can be understood; but it was 
essentially otherwise where the slave was the only 
laborer and was not an exotic, as he was in Virginia 
and Kentucky. 

De Bow was able to say in the beginning of this 
year, ''Certainly no cause has ever grown with 
greater rapidity than has that of the advocates of 
the slave trade, if we may judge from the attitude 
it is assuming in most of our southern legislatures,"^ 

* De Bow's Review, XXI., 599 (December, 1856), 
2 Ibid., XXVL, 51 (January, 1859). 



The Southern Convention, a body formed for ad- 
vancing the commercial interests of the South, in 
its meeting. May, 1858, at Montgomery, Alabama, 
gave its time almost entirely to the question. 
Yancey, prominent in all its proceedings, clearly 
stated their position. "If it is not wrong to hold 
slaves and buy and sell them, it is right in morals 
and imder the Constitution which guarantees the 
institution, that we should buy them in whatever 
place we may choose to select. He did not wish 
to be compelled to go to Virginia and buy slaves 
for $1500 each, when he could get them in Cuba 
for $600, and upon the coast of Guinea for one 
sixth of that simi." 

The report of the committee favoring reopening 
of the African slave-trade was laid upon the table, 
but taken up at the next meeting of the conven- 
tion, at Vicksburg, Mississippi, May, 1859, and 
adopted by over two to one.^ It was not entirely 
cheapness which determined the views of those 
favoring the trade, ''for," said the committee, 
with extraordinary blindness to the physical and 
other conditions of the problem, "we believe that 
an importation of one or two hundred thousand 
slaves will enable us to take every territory offered 
to the West." 2 

The advocacy of the reopening of the slave-trade 
by so many South-Carolinians in the last decade of 

^ De Bow's Review, XXVII., 96-99 (January, i860). 
^Ihid., XXIV., 490 (June, 1858). 


slavery would seem anomalous in face of the fact 
that South Carolina was herself a slave-selling, or, 
at least, a slave - deporting, state. The fact that 
slaves were not profitable in the economy of South 
Carolina is shown by the dark picture of the con- 
dition of the state in 1859, drawn by Spratt, of 
Charleston, the chairman of the committee of the 
Southern Convention of 1859, reporting in favor of 
reopening the slave-trade. The depressed condi- 
tion of the state was, in his opinion, wholly due 
to the want of African labor. He said: ''Upon the 
suppression of . . . [the slave] trade the splendors 
[of the town and parishes of the Charleston dis- 
trict] waned; their glories departed; progress left 
them for the North ; cultivation ceased ; the swamps 
returned; mansions became tenantless and roofless; 
values fell, lands that sold for fifty dollars per acre, 
now sell for less than five dollars; trade was no 
longer prosecuted; . . . and Charleston, which was 
once upon the line of travel from Europe to the 
North, now stands aside, and while once the me- 
tropolis of America is now the unconsidered sea 
port of a tributary province." ^ 

His statement of conditions was true; his reason- 
ing erroneous. The state was already black in the 
proportion of four negroes to three whites, and fur- 
ther flooding with Africans would not have made it 
a cotton state in the sense that Alabama and Mis- 
sissippi were such. The conditions were intrinsic. 

^ De Bow's Review, XXVII., 211. 


The state was not in the true cotton belt ; the yield 
per acre was but three-fifths that in Alabama and 
less than half that in Mississippi.^ Its advance in 
cotton production in the decade 1 850-1 860 was but 
eighteen per cent; in Mississippi it was one hun- 
dred and forty-six per cent. It is true that the 
sea -island cotton of South Carolina and Georgia 
had a special value, but of this the South Caro- 
lina production rarely exceeded seven thousand 

It is not unfair to suppose that some of the 
strength of the secession movement in South Caro- 
lina was due to a vain hope of recovering some- 
thing of her former prosperity by being free to im- 
port African slaves. But causes deeper than those 
mentioned lay at the root of South Carolina's de- 
cadence. In 1775, when her exports of rice and 
indigo were valued at over one naillion pounds, she 
was one of a fringe of colonies on the Atlantic sea- 
board, and she was one of the few which raised 
specialties for export. There was no "back coun- 
try" except that given over to the Indian and the 
buffalo. But when population crossed the moim- 
tains, and great states grew northwest and west of 
her, she could have little share in that trade on 
account of the barrier of moimtains and because 
the others had their ow^n natural commercial ports 
of Mobile and New Orleans. The Mississippi was 
the highway of the West until railroads found their 
^ U. S. Seventh Census (1850), Compendium, 178. 

VOL. XIX. — 5 


way west over the easier routes of the North, and 
New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore took the 
trade because ships could load Both ways. Charles- 
ton ceased to import, as she once did, for the north- 
ern trade, and foimd herself with deserted wharves. 
No additions of slaves, no efforts of masters, could 
have prevented such a change. Charleston was left 
aside, with nothing to carry outward except South 
Carolina's own comparatively limited production. 
The deep discontent with conditions which no ef- 
forts on their part could, to any great extent, have 
overcome ripened into stdlen dissatisfaction with the 
Union, at whose door was laid the cause, instead of 
at that of nature. 



THE civil war in Kansas was ending, and the 
territory was certain to be one of the free 
states which, by the admission of Minnesota and 
Oregon, now numbered eighteen as against fifteen 
slave states — Delaware and Maryland were not de- 
pendent on slavery, and four others, Virginia, Ken- 
tucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, had large areas 
where the slaves were so few that there was no 
positive and insistent pro-slavery feeling. There 
was still a wide-spread and powerful Union senti- 
ment throughout all parts of the South, except in 
South Carolina, though even there it was far from 

The Whig party, which had been the stronghold 
of Unionist feeling, had now as a party disappeared, 
its following in the South finding refuge in the 
ephemeral organization known as "Americans" or 
" Know-Nothings," and many of the northern Whigs 
drifting to the new Republican party, a name 
which to the South, unfortunately and incorrectly, 
was the synonym of abolitionist. New England 


was now solidly Republican; New York elected a 
Republican governor in 1858, and Pennsylvania in 
1859 for the first time left the Democratic ranks. 
Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and 
Minnesota were Republican. Maryland elected a 
"Know-Nothing" governor. Hicks, in 1858. Hous- 
ton left the Senate to become governor of Texas. 
Quitman, who for seven years had been a firebrand, 
had died in July, 1858. Alexander H. Stephens was 
no longer in Congress. Leaving Washington, March 
5, 1859, he stood at the stern of the boat gazing at 
the Capitol. A friend remarked, ''I suppose you 
are thinking of coming back to these halls as a 
senator." Stephens replied: ''No, I never expect 
to see Washington again, unless I am brought here 
as a prisoner of war," a prophecy which was to be 

October 17, 1859, the country was startled by 
the news of the seizure, the previous night, of the 
United States arsenal at Harper's Ferry, and the 
domination of the village by a small body of men 
led by John Brown, whose name was already known 
throughout the Union by a series of bloody ex- 
ploits in Kansas, ending in the summer of 1858 
with a raid into Missouri to free some slaves.^ 

Born at Torrington, Connecticut, in 1800, reared in 
the Western Reserve in northern Ohio, in his father's 
occupation as a tanner; married at twenty years 

^ Johnston and Browne, Stephens, 348. 

2 Smith, Parties and Slavery {Am. Nation, XVIII.), chap. xi. 

I 1859] JOHN BROWN 69 

j and again at thirty -three ; the father of twenty chil- 
I dren, thirteen of them by his second wife ; by turns 
tanner, farmer, land surveyor, wool dealer, cattle 
drover, sheep raiser, a migrant for years between 
: Ohio and Massachusetts, and always unsuccessful 
in his affairs, he finally, after a ruinous visit to 
Europe in 1849 to sell wool, settled his family, but 
not himself, on a small farm in the Adirondacks, at 
North Elba, Essex County, New York. It was in 
this region that Gerrit Smith, a large-hearted phi- 
lanthropist, had given farms to a considerable num- 
ber of colored people, though a region where Indian- 
corn would not ripen and stock had to be fed six 
months in the year was wholly unfitted by climate 
and production to the negro race. It was among 
these that Brown established himself somewhat as 
an adviser and helper, and no doubt also because 
he obtained a home for his family under favorable 

Brown himself states that he became an abo- 
litionist during the War of 181 2, through witnessing 
the maltreatment of a colored boy, a slave. ^ It is 
not surprising, w4th his intensity of character, that 
as early as 1839 he had decided upon some such 
course as was taken in 1859. He seems to have 
kept this steadily in view and to have looked upon 
his whole family as instruments in the cause. ^ 
Coming of Puritan stock, he inherited the intense 

* Sanborn, John Brown, 12-17. 

'Sanborn, in Atlantic Monthly, XXXV., 21 (January, 1875). 


religiosity associated with the Puritan character 
and a firm faith in the Bible, of which he was a 
constant reader and quoter; he was a religious man 
and a kindly one, as religion and kindliness pre- 
sented themselves to such a soul, which, when fired 
with an idea, recked little of the law and morality 
which lay across his way. 

Six of Brown's seven living sons and a son-in- 
law migrated to Kansas in 1855. The wretched 
conflict, which was the forerunner of the greater 
war later, caused Brown to find the true metier for 
which nature had fitted him — that of the partisan 

Whatever other dark and savage deeds were done 
in the dark period, none, it must be said in the 
truth of history, was more savage and more ruth- 
less than the murder (for it can be called nothing 
else) at Pottawatomie during the night of May 24, 
1856, when five men were taken at midnight from 
their beds and their heads split open by a heavy, 
old-style navy cutlass, but one shot being fired. 
Even Sanborn, the intimate associate of Stearns 
and Higginson on the Boston Kansas committee, 
and Brown's biographer and ardent admirer, can 
find no better excuse for this outrage than that 
Brown ''knew — what few could believe — that 
slavery must perish in blood; and though a peace- 
ful man, he had no scruples about shedding blood 
in so good a cause ... we who praise Grant for 
those military movements which caused the bloody 



death of thousands, are so inconsistent as to de- 
nounce Brown for the death of these five men in 
Kansas." ^ 

The savagery of Kansas conditions roused the 
fighting instincts of the man, and he reverted to 
views expressed to Frederick Douglass as early as 
1847 regarding a scheme of an Appalachian strong- 
hold: "To take at first about twenty-five picked 
men and begin on a small scale ; supply them with 
arms and ammunition, and post them in squads 
of five on a line of twenty-five miles, the most per- 
suasive and judicious of whom shall go down to 
the fields from time to time, as opportunity offers, 
and induce the slaves to join them, seeking and 
selecting the most reckless and daring." ^ 

Brown's three guerilla years in Kansas may be re- 
garded as a preliminary study for his work of 1859. 
His organization of a corps of "Kansas Regulars" 
in 1856 and the rules for their government are 
much in keeping with his later action.^ In Janu- 
ary, 1857, Brown first came in contact with the 
Massachusetts Kansas committee, of which Mr. G. 
L. Stearns was chairman, and he received the 
custody of certain arms in western Iowa belonging 
to the committee and was furnished with a con- 
siderable sum of money to transport them.^ Later 

* Sanborn, John Brown, 268. 

2 Douglass, Life and Times (ed. of 1881), 280. 

^ Sanborn, John Brown, 287-290. 

^ Sanborn, in Atlantic Monthly, XXXV., 232. 


in the same month he was urging in New York, be- 
fore the national Kansas committee, the organiza- 
tion of a company of a hundred mounted rangers. 

The chaotic conditions of public feeling is shown 
by the effort to induce the Massachusetts legislature 
to vote ten thousand dollars for use in Kansas; 
and Brown, in Febrviary, 1857, appeared before the 
committee appointed to consider such petitions, and 
gave a powerful description of Kansas outrages,^ 
omitting, however, a description of his own. In 
the fall of 1857 Brown was in Iowa, avssociated with 
an English adventurer, Forbes, who had been Italian 
silk merchant, Garibaldian, and New York fencing- 
master, and who was engaged by Brown as an in- 
structor in military matters. In November, 1857, 
Brown was again in Kansas. He was soon back in 
Iowa, where his views were revealed to a small fol- 
lowing of nine persons besides Forbes ; a revelation 
which caused a good deal of wrangling.^ The prop- 
erty of the Massachusetts committee, consisting of 
about two hundred Sharps rifles, a like number of 
revolvers, blankets, clothing, and ammunition, were 
shipped to Ashtabula County, Ohio, whence they 
finally found their way to the Kennedy farm in 

Brown's plan was fully revealed Monday, Febru- 
ary 22, 1858, at the house of Gerrit Smith, at Peter- 
boro, New York, where Brown had asked to meet 

^ Redpath, John Brown, 176-184. 
2 Cook's confession, in Ihid., 198. 



'! him Theodore Parker, George L. Stearns, T. W. 
Higginson, and F. B. Sanborn, all of Boston, and 
his intimate supporters. Sanborn alone came, but 
was empowered to represent the others. "After 
dinner," says Sanborn, "I went with Mr. Smith, 
John Brown, and my classmate Morton [Smith's 
secretary] to the room of Mr. Morton in the third 
story. Here in the long winter evening which fol- 
lowed, the whole outline of Brown's campaign in 
Virginia was laid before our little council . . . the 
middle of May w^as named as the time of the attack. 
To begin this hazardous enterprise he asked for but 
eight hundred dollars, and would think himself rich 
with a thousand." ^ 

The colloquy lasted late into the night and was 
resumed next day, with the result that Smith and 
Sanborn agreed that funds must be raised and 
Brown supported. Sanborn continues: ''I returned 
to Boston on the 25th of February and . . . com- 
municated the enterprise to Theodore Parker and 
Wentworth Higginson. At the suggestion of Par- 
ker, Brown, who had gone to Brooklyn, N. Y., was 
invited to visit Boston secretly, and did so on the 
4th of March, taking a room at the American House, 
in w^hich he remained for the most part during a 
four days' stay." Brown could write to his son 
John, ]\Iarch 6: ''My call here has met with a most 
hearty response, so that I feel assured of at least 
tolerable success. . . . All has been effected by quiet 

^ Sanborn, John Brown, 438. 


meeting of a few choice friends." ^ Brown's letters 
at this time to his family show how fully he was 
possessed with the spirit of his project, and also il- 
lustrate the wildness of his views, which included a 
possible return after the accomplishment of "the 
great work of my life " and "'rest at evening.'" ^ 

Sanborn makes it clear that at least Higginson, 
Stearns, Parker, and Howe were informed at this 
period of Brown's plans of attack and defence in 
Virginia, though he does not know that any besides 
himself knew of his purpose to surprise the arsenal 
and town of Harper's Ferry. ^ 

May 8, 1858, found Brown (known for some time 
for safety as Shubel Morgan) at Chatham, Canada, 
with eleven young white associates and one colored 
man whom he had attached to himself and who had 
been with him in Kansas and elsewhere. At Chat- 
ham, by these men and thirty - four colored per- 
sons, was adopted an extraordinary "Provisional 
Constitution and Ordinance for the people of the 
United States," which was written in January, 
1858, at the house of Frederick Douglass, in Roch- 
ester, a paper in itself a witness of the abnormality 
of the mind of the author.^ Brown was elected 
commander-in-chief, Richard Realf, secretary of 
state; J. H. Kagi, secretary of war; George B. Gill, 
secretary of the treasury. Two colored men were 

* Sanborn, John Brown, 440. ^ Ibid., 441. ^ Ibid., 450. 
^ For this constitution in full, see Hinton, John Brown and 
His Men, 619-634. 


1858] JOHN BROWN 75 

elected members of the congress, and seem to have 
formed the entire body; commissions were issued 
signed by W. C. Mimroe, a colored man, as presi- 
dent of the convention. 

Suspicions of Brown's intentions reached Sena- 
tor Henry Wilson from Forbes, the English ad- 
venturer mentioned. A letter to Dr. Howe from 
Wilson caused the committee, of which Stearns was 
chairman, to write Brown, May 14, 1858, not to use 
the arms furnished him for any other purpose than 
the defence of Kansas. This was evidently a blind 
to cover responsibility, as May 31 found Brown 
back in Boston in consultation with Smith, Stearns, 
Howe, Parker, Higginson, and Sanborn. Here, not- 
withstanding the danger of publicity, Higginson pro- 
tested against delay, regarding "any postponement 
as simply abandoning the project." ^ But all the 
others of the committee were against him, Sanborn 
writing him, May 18: ''Wilson, as well as Hale and 
Seward, and God knows how many m_ore, have heard 
about the plot from Forbes. To go on in the face of 
this is mere madness." ^ 

The duplicity of the committee is shown by a 
letter of May 12, 1858, to Senator Wilson, sent by 
Howe, saying: "I understand perfectly your mean- 
ing. No countenance has been given to Brown for 
any operations outside of Kansas by the Kansas 
Committee/' ^ and three days later, ''Prompt meas- 

^ Sanborn, John Brown, 459. ^ Ibid., 460. 

^ The emphasis is in the letter. 


ures have been taken and will be resolutely fol- 
lowed up to prevent any such monstrous perversion 
of a trust as would be the application of means 
raised for the defence of Kansas to a purpose which 
the subscribers of the fund would disapprove and 
vehemently condemn." ^ 

The meaning of this gross prevarication was that 
the arms having been furnished by Stearns, he now 
made claim to them, withdrew them from the 
Kansas com^mittee, and, meeting Brown in New 
York about May 20, arranged that they should be 
in Brown's hands as the agent, not of the committee, 
but of Stearns alone. ^ It is not a pleasant story. 
It was a curious salve to the consciences of the con- 
spirators, who thus far had been in the fullest de- 
gree accessories. These arms and a thousand pikes 
contracted for by Brown in Collinsville, Connecti- 
cut, were to be the arms of an army of liberation. 

Brown, consulting Higginson, proposed to blind 
Forbes by going to Kansas, and that the committee 
in future should not know his plans. June 3 he left 
Boston with five hundred dollars in gold, and 
reached Lawrence, Kansas, June 25, 1858. 

A massacre of Free State men at Marais des 
Cygnes by a party of "Border Ruffians" in May, 
1858, a deed which raised the North to a dangerous 
heat, was a good reason for Brown's return; but 
seven months later, at the end of December, 1858, 
he was in Kansas, and the leader of a party of fa- 

^ Sanborn, John Brown, 462. ^ Ihid., 463, 



miliars which crossed the Missouri border and car- 
ried away eleven slaves and some horses and wag- 
ons, killing one of the owners who had attempted 
to defend his possessions. The slaves were safely 
landed in Canada and the horses were sold at Cleve- 
land, Ohio, by Brown, who had the grace, however, to 
warn the purchasers of a possible defect in the title. ^ 

Brown wandered in many places until July, 1859, 
when he appeared in the rough, semi-mountainous 
country of the upper Potomac, immediately on the 
highway, and six miles north from Harper's Ferry, 
where he rented for a year a small place known 
as the Kennedy farm, on which were two houses. 
Thither he transported by degrees all his arms and 
gathered together his twenty-one followers (five of 
whom were colored), for whom his daughter Anne 
and his sixteen-year-old daughter-in-law, wife of 
Oliver Brown, ''kept house." Nor were most of 
the men much older. Except John Brown and his 
son Owen, they ranged in age from eighteen to 
twenty - eight. Only five of the whites were over 
twenty-four years of age ; one was not yet nineteen ; 
three w^ere Brown's sons. 

Brown's pretence of looking for a better climate 
and for a location for raising sheep, imposed upon 
the imsophisticated neighbors, and no suspicions 
seem to have been roused by the presence and the 
going to and fro in this secluded district of a nimi- 
ber of strangers, who wandered freely over the 
^ Sanborn, John Brown, 494. 


mountains of the vicinity. The time in-doors was 
spent in what they called drill and in looking after 
the arms. The heads of the pikes had come sepa- 
rately from the shafts, which latter passed for fork- 
handles ; they were fitted together at the farm. 

An anonymous letter dated at Cincinnati, August 
20, 1859, to the secretary of war, gave full informa- 
tion of the intended movement, but received no at- 
tention. It indicated so clearly Brown's move- 
mients that it was evident later that it had been 
written by one thoroughly informed. Not until 
1897 was the name of the writer made public, and 
it was then shown to have been written in Iowa by 
a young man urged on by the solicitude of some in 
the Quaker settlement, which he was visiting, for the 
safety of the young lowans accompanying Brown. ^ 
Sunday, October 16, the party was assembled in 
an all-day council at the Kennedy farm, the ''con- 
stitution" was read for the benefit of four new- 
comers, commissions for newly made officers made 
out, and orders given detailing the movement, 
which Brown had decided should be that evening. 
''Captains" Owen Brown, Merriam, and Barclay 
Coppoc were to remain and guard arms and effects 
until morning, when, joined by some men from 
Harper's Ferry, they were to remove the arms with 
teams to an old school -house in Virginia three- 
quarters of a mile from Harper's Ferry. Two were 
to go ahead of the wagon in which Brown was to 
* B. F. Gue, in Am. Hist. Mag., I., 162 et seq. (March, 1906). 



go and cut the telegraph wires ; two were to capt- 
ure the watchman at the railroad bridge, and two 
were detailed for each of the following posts: the 
covered Potomac bridge, the engine-house, the 
armory, and the rifle factory. ''Captain" Stevens, 
after the engine-house should be seized, was to go 
into the country with five companions and take 
certain persons prisoners, among them Colonel 
Lewis Washington, owner of the Washington sword 
which tradition has falsely ascribed as a present 
from Frederick the Great, which Brown coveted, 
and which, when received, he theatrically wore. 

The invading procession left the Kennedy farm 
at eight o'clock. Brown, with his wagon and party, 
having captured the bridge watchman, went on to 
the armor}^ forced the door, and seized the watch- 
man. The several stations assigned were occupied 
by eleven o'clock. A shot fired at a relief bridge 
watchman gave the alarm. The stoppage of an 
eastward-boimd train at midnight at first suggested 
to the passengers a strike among the arsenal work- 
men; at daylight it was allowed to proceed with a 
knowledge of the true situation. Brown himself see- 
ing the conductor across the bridge, as he had no 
intention of interfering with the comfort of passen- 
gers or hindering the United States mails." ^ 

With daylight, October 17, came a four-horse 
wagon-load of Colonel Washington's slaves. Wash- 
ington himself, when aroused and captured, had 
* Hinton, John Brown and His Men, 288. 


been ordered to give in charge to Anderson (a col- 
ored man) the historic sword, and a pair of pistols 
from Lafayette. He was brought in his own car- 
riage to the armory, where he was kept as a priso- 
ner, as were several other neighboring slave-owners. 
The Washington wagon and fourteen slaves were 
sent to the Kennedy farm to assist in removing the 
arms to the Virginia school-house.^ 

Two deaths had by this time occurred; the first 
that of a colored porter at the hotel who would 
not stop when ordered; the other that of the vil- 
lage mayor, Beckham, who was passing unarmed in 
range from the engine-house, and whose body was 
left exposed for some hours. An inquisitive bar- 
tender had been seized, but was exchanged for 
breakfast from the hotel for forty persons. - 

The countryside being now aroused, men with 
arms of all sorts poured into the village. Militia 
began to arrive from all the neighboring and some 
of the more distant towns, and desultory fighting 
began with a number of casualties on either side. 
At nightfall Brown held the engine-house with four 
men and ten prisoners, his son Oliver dead and 
another son, Watson, dying. Six others were dead, 
three wounded, and one a prisoner. At eleven in 
the evening a company of United States marines 
arrived from Washington, accompanied by Colonel 
Robert E. Lee, of General Scott's staff, who took 
over the command. At seven the next morn- 
^ Hinton, John Brown and His Men, 294. 



ing (Tuesday, October i8) Lieutenant J. E. B. 
Stuart was sent by Lee, under a flag of truce, to 
demand an unconditional surrender. Brown re- 
fused all offers unless he should be allowed to leave 
with his prisoners, to go, unpursued, as far as the 
second toll-gate, where he would free his prisoners, 
and the soldiers thereafter be permitted to pursue. 
A renewal of the demand and of advice to trust to 
the clemency of the government was refused by 
Brown, with the remark, I prefer to die just here." 
The failure to obtain a surrender was followed by 
an assault by the marines, in which the door was 
battered in, with the loss of one man. Brown re- 
ceived a bayonet wound and several severe sword- 
cuts in the melee. Owen Brown and six others 

After Brown was brought out he revived and 
talked earnestly in response to various questions. 
His conversation bore the impression of the con- 
viction that whatever he had done to free slaves 
was right, and that in the warfare in which he was 
engaged he was entitled to be treated as a prisoner 
of war.^ 

Brown's prisoners all testified to their lenient 
treatment, and Colonel Washington spoke of him 
as a man of extraordinary coolness and nerve. 
Brown and the other prisoners, to whom were added 
two captured later, were transferred to the county 

^ Hart, Am. Hist, told by Contemporaries, IV., §§47, 48. 
2 Harper's Weekly, III., 695. 

VOL. XIX.— 6 


jail at Charlestown. On examination at the Ken- 
nedy farm a large quantity of blankets, clothing, 
and the arms previously mentioned were found, as 
also a carpet-bag containing a copy of Brown's 
"constitution" and a number of papers connected 
with his movement.^ 

Brown's trial began October 25, two Virginia 
lawyers, Lawson Botts and C. J. Faulkner, being 
assigned to his defence. These gentlemen were re- 
placed later by S. Chilton, of Washington; H. 
Griswold, of Cleveland, Ohio, and a young Boston 
lawyer, G. E. Hoyt. The indictment was, first, for 
conspiring with negroes to produce insurrection; 
second, for treason to the commonwealth of Vir- 
ginia; and, third, for murder. October 31 he was 
found guilty, and was hanged December 2. All of 
the other prisoners in turn suffered the same pun- 

Brown's conduct throughout his imprisonment 
and trial was of great dignity and reserve, and 
commanded respect and sympathy. He appeared 
in court wounded and ill and in a cot. His speech 
previous to being sentenced was the only blot upon 
his action at this time, in so far as he disclaimed 
"murder or treason, or the destruction of property, 
or to make insurrection." He claimed an inten- 
tion simply to carry slaves to Canada. But one 
cannot do all he did and then disclaim the inten- 
tion of using force. 

* Hinton^ John Brown and His Men, 319. 



Governor Wise himself gave high praise to 
Brown. ^ Thousands of letters poured in upon him 
urging Brown's pardon. Many threatened; others 
deemed the execution ill-advised. Wise's message 
to the legislatiire, written after Brown's death, gave 
good reasons for not taking such advice.^ 

The emotional feelings among the abolitionists 
caused throughout the North expressions of an 
extraordinary character which enthroned Brown 
among the saints, and scarcely left anything for 
future use in characterizing our most exalted philo- 
sophic or religious ideals. It is painful testimony 
to a national habit of emotional exaltation. A 
Virginia transcendentalist could say, ''John Brown 
was executed on December 2, 1859, and two days 
later my sermon exalted him to the right hand of 
God." ^ Forty-four years later the sam.e man 
could say, ''Reading his career by the light of sub- 
sequent history, I am convinced that few men ever 
wrought so much evil." ^ 

The oratorical governor of Virginia saw in the 
event principally a means of arming his state to 
meet events which he too clearly foreboded. The 
whole available militia of the state was assembled, 
and Harper's Ferry became a camp of some eighteen 
hundred men. I brought the force into the field," 
said Wise, *'in the first place to rouse the military 
spirit of the state; and in my humble estimation 

* Wise, Wise, 246, ^ Ibid., 250-254. 

3 Conway, Autobiography, I., 302. * Ibid,, 303. 


that was worth all the money spent. In the next 
place ... to assure the people of the border of their 
safety and defense." ^ In his message of Decem- 
ber 5 he called upon the legislature to "organize 
and arm." 

The South, under the circumstances, was much 
calmer than might have been expected. This was 
due in part, no doubt, to a reassurance because the 
blacks failed to rise, and showed evident loyalty to 
their masters. Their attitude justified much of 
what the South had so long upheld as to the con- 
tentment of the slaves; and this, with a removal 
of much of the fear which had hung over the section 
since Nat Turner's insurrection in 1831, nurtured 
a satisfaction which did much to offset the indig- 
nation which was poured out abundantly upon 
Brown's northern abettors and upon the many who 
proclaimed him a martyr. Motions in both houses 
of the Massachusetts legislature to adjourn on the 
day of Brown's execution, though lost, very prop- 
erly rankled in the southern mind, as did also 
meetings in many parts of the North prompted by 
ill-advised fanaticism. The strength and extent of 
this spirit was illustrated by Theodore Parker's be- 
lief that ''No American has died in this century 
whose chance of earthly immortality is worth half 
so much as John Brown's." ^ Parker was also one 
who could say, "I should like of all things to see 

^ Richmond Enquirer (semi-weekly ed.), Januar}^ 31, i860. 
^ Frothingham, Parker, 463. 



an insurrection of slaves. It must be tried many 
times before it succeeds, as at last it must,'' ^ an 
expression which was the outcome of his own full 
knowledge as to what was brewing. Of this the 
others of the Boston secret committee, Parker, 
Stearns, Higginson, Howe, and Sanborn, as already 
shown on the authority of the last, also had full in- 
formation, as had Gerrit Smith, with the exception, 
perhaps, of the exact place at which Brown was 
to strike. Brown's funds were supplied by these 
men, who were accessories before the fact in the 
fullest meaning of the phrase. 

It is impossible to justify such action. That they 
had full appreciation of the results should Brown 
succeed is shown in Howe's feeling, when, early in 
1859, returning from Cuba and "accepting the 
hospitality of Wade Hampton and other rich 
planters ... it shocked him to think he might be 
instrumental in giving up to fire and pillage their 
noble mansions." ^ If Brown and his coadjutors 
were justified, then Orsini's attempt, to which Lin- 
coln himself compared Brown's, was justifiable; the 
death of Lincoln himself was a result of the same 
want of principle. For the men just mentioned 
were conspirators in the same sense as those who 
aided Orsini and Booth, both of whom were acting 
upon the extreme view of ''the higher law" which 
makes man a law unto himself. Stearns and his 
fellows were not martyrs; they did not risk their 

* Frothingham, Parker, 475. ^ Sanborn, John Brown, 491. 


lives; they were not in open warfare; they were 
simply in secret conspiracy to carry by bolder in- 
striiments throughout the South the horrors of 
Hayti, still vivid in the recollection of many then 
yet living. 

One can respect the fanatical spirit which so 
often goes with martyrdom. Brown was undoubt- 
edly willing to lay down his life in order to instigate 
the blacks to move for freedom. But his willing- 
ness was no more a justification than Orsini's or 
Booth's. No result of the kind intended could pos- 
sibly have justified the overriding of every law of 
the country from the formation of the Constitu- 
tion. That the negroes had themselves a right to 
rise, and, if necessary to their freedom, to slaughter 
and burn, cannot be denied. Every man has the 
right, at all hazards, to resist enslavement; it is a 
right of nature. But the men who bought the arms 
and supplied the money for the pikes carried to 
the Kennedy farm, with full knowledge of the uses 
which they were to be put to, and the whites who 
were to use them, were fighting, not against the 
South, but against all organized society. We could 
palliate such action on the part of the quarter of 
a million of free negroes in the North, working in 
behalf of their race, and respect the southern free 
negro who was willing to fight for such a cause. 
But of such willingness there was too faint a sign 
to suppose such action, unaided by higher leader- 
ship, possible. 



While Brown had a blood-thirst which made him 
a willing leader in some of the worst incidents of 
the bloody epoch in Kansas, he had the high quali- 
ties of undaunted courage and an unflinching will- 
ingness to give his life for the cause he had at 
heart. Such willingness is, however, by no means 
so infrequent that it need elevate such a case as 
Brown's to a foremost rank of martyrdom. For, 
however willing to be a martyr, he did not expect 
that glory; he was, in his own mind, to be the head 
of a great and successful movement, and herein his 
conduct showed too much insanity or folly to de- 
serve sympathy. In all the important phases of 
his plot he showed extreme ignorance and want of 
good sense. His original scheme was as wild and 
impossible as could be imagined. It was stamped 
with ignorance and incapacity. His intent to oc- 
cupy the rough region of the Alleghanies with a 
large body of blacks, led by a score of whites, most 
of whom were mere boys, wanting in any supplies 
of clothing or food, in an unsettled region, one of 
the roughest of the continent, was one showing ab- 
solute want of the judgment necessary in a leader. 
Starvation would have met him at the threshold of 
his eyrie. The choice both of his theatre of action 
and of the time showed a want of balance of mind. 
The theatre was a region where the whites were in 
an overpowering majority; the time the beginning 
of the season when the support of life is most diffi- 
cult and in which the negro would be most unlikely 


to yield the warm comfort of his cabin for the 
wintry heights of the West Virginia mountains. 
The whole scheme, so far as it expected slave sup- 
port by insurrection, was one of complete folly. 

That Brown, despite his speech when condemned, 
did expect a rising, must be taken as unquestion- 
able. If proof beyond his own statement were need- 
ed, we have it in that of his " Adjutant -General " 
Kagi (killed at Harper's Ferry), as follows: "It 
was not anticipated that the first movement would 
have any other appearance to the masters than a 
slave stampede or local insurrection at most. The 
planters would pursue their chattels and be de- 
feated. The militia would then be called out, and 
would also be defeated. . . . They anticipated after 
the first blow had been struck that by the aid of 
the free and Canadian negroes who would join 
them, they could inspire confidence in the slaves, 
and induce them to rally; . . . the design was to 
make the fight in the mountains of Virginia, ex- 
tending it to North Carolina and Tennessee and 
also to the swamps of South Carolina if possible." ^ 
''The mountains and swamps of the South were 
intended by the Almighty," said Brown, "for a 
refuge for the slave and a defence against the op- 
pressor," ^ a remark not in disaccord with Brown's 
claim to being directed by the Lord in visions.^ 

When Brown found himself face to face with the 

^ Hinton, John Brown and His Men, 673. 
2 Redpath, John Brown, 204. 

^ Ibid., 113. 

i859] JOHN BROWN 89 

actuality of conflict it seemed to take from him all 
power of initiative or movement, and led him to 
sacrifice himself and his party in a defence which 
could only have one end. Whatever may be said 
as to his bravery, and he was certainly brave, or aS 

li to his loftiness of spirit, which is undeniable, he 

r was, if it be granted that he was attempting that 
which every act, every writing, every explanation 
by himself, leads us to believe he attempted, a man 
wanting in knowledge of the race he, was urging to 

I rise, and so lacking in common-sense that he was 

\ plainly imfitted for such a leadership. 

Nor coiild the South fail to be gratified with the 
rebound in northern sentiment. The sporadic cases 
of public approval of Brown could not outweigh 
the general indignation throughout the North. It 
needed the events of the next and later years, with 
which his acts had but remote connection, to can- 
onize John Brown, whose name became the con- 
venient watchword of antagonism to disruption of 
the Union, and gained a fame, w^hether good or ill, 
which will last as long as the memories of the great 
Civil War. 



■\ X THEN Congress met, December 5, 1859, the 

V V new House was a conglomerate of 109 Re- 
publicans, 88 administration Democrats, 13 anti- 
Lecompton Democrats, 26 Americans, and i Whig. 
All the Americans were from the South with four 
exceptions, and they included half the delegations 
from Maryland, Kentucky, and North Carolina, and 
six of the ten representatives of Tennessee. Charles 
Francis Adams, Morrill, Burlingame, Conkling, 
Grow, Corwin, Sherman, Colfax, Windom were 
among the Republicans; Miles, Pryor, Curry, Lamar, 
Reuben Davis, Vallandigham, S. S. Cox, Sickles 
were among the Democrats. Henry Winter Davis, 
Gilmer, and Maynard were of the Americans. In 
the Senate from the northern states were Seward, 
Sumner, Wilson, Wade, Douglas, Chandler, of Michi- 
gan, and Grimes; Davis, Toombs, Slidell, Benjamin, 
Mallory, and Crittenden (the last an American) 
from the South. 

It was not strange that, with the general feeling 
strongly accentuated by the Harper's Ferry raid, 


i86o] CONGRESS 91 

the slavery question should at once arise, and in the 

House render impossible for many weeks the elec- 
tion of a speaker. Sixty -four Republican repre- 
sentatives had signed a circular in which it was pro- 
posed to issue at a very cheap price a compendium 
of the Impending Crisis, a book written by Hinton 
R. Helper, a North-Carolinian of the poorer middle 
class, appealing to the poor whites of the South 
to emancipate themselves. It was not in himian 
nature to refuse the challenge offered by the cir- 
culation of a doctmient which, however true in its 
statistics, showing the immense disparity of even 
the agricultural progress between the sections, was 
deeply abusive of the slave-holder and revolutionary 
in its advice. The purpose stated in the circular 
was to diffuse the book particularly in Pennsyl- 
vania, New Jersey, Indiana, and Illinois, the states 
which were to decide the next presidential contest. 
Clark, of Missouri, introduced a resolution that no 
member of the House who had ''indorsed the book 
and recommended it or the compend from it, is fit 
to be a Speaker of this House," and termed the 
action an incipient movement of treason.^ 

Sherman, the Republican candidate, stated that 
while he had lent his name, he had not seen a copy 
of either the book or compendium,^ an action which 
he fitly characterized in a private letter " a thought- 
less, foolish, and imfortunate act." ^ He reinforced 

* Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., i Sess., 5. 

^Ibid., 547. 3 Sherman Letters, 78. 


his public statement by declaring that his opponents 
would scan his record *'in vain for anything to ex- 
cite insurrection, to disturb the peace, to invade the 
rights of the states, to alienate the North and South 
from each other, or to loosen the ties of fraternal 
fellowship by which our people have been and 
should be bound together. I am for the Union and 
the Constitution, with all the compromises under 
which it was formed and all the obligations which it 
imposes." * But this did not avail. He was sup- 
ported until January 30 by the Republicans, when 
he withdrew his name, and Pennington, of New Jer- 
sey, a new member, was elected February i, on 
the forty-fourth ballot, by 117 votes, the bare num- 
ber necessary. 

Though the southern leaders retaliated on the 
friends of Helper's book, they made the same 
blimder as twenty years before in regard to other 
incendiary documents. The book which they de- 
sired to suppress received an advertisement which 
spread it over the South, to its deep resentment, 
and gave it an enormous circulation in the North, 
where, convincing as were its argimients as to the 
effects of slavery, it made still more sure Republi- 
can success in the doubtful northern states. 

Personal encounters on the floor of the House 
were imminent, arms were carried by many in both 
Houses, and the animosities in Congress were more 
than equalled by those of the southern press and by 

^ Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., i Sess., 548. 


i860] CONGRESS 93 

much of the northern. Every expression of mem- 
bers of prominence in both Houses showed how 
firmly had become fixed in the southern mind the 
idea of secession should a Republican president be 
elected. The speech, December 15, 1859, of Martin 
J. Crawford, of Georgia, against the election of 
Sherman as speaker, may be taken as the type of 
many which gave expression to the now dominant 
feeling of the South. "To talk," said Crawford, 
"of the settlement of this slavery question is folly; 
to talk of a compromise upon this subject of slavery 
is worse than folly; . . . this question has resolved 
itself at last into a question of slavery and dis- 
imion, or no slavery and union, ... I have this to 
say, and I speak the sentiment of every Democrat 
on this floor from the state of Georgia: we will 
never submit to the inauguration of a Black Re- 
publican president." (Applause from the Demo- 
cratic benches and hisses from the Republicans.) ^ 

This language had its fitting counterpart in the 
speech of Hickman, of Pennsylvania, an anti-Le- 
com_pton Democrat, who said: "The North will 
never tolerate a division of the territory. ... I am 
neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet; but 
I express my belief that there is as much true 
courage in the North, though it may not be known 
by the name of chivalry, as there is in the South. . . . 
I believe . . . that with all the appliances of art to 
assist, eighteen millions of men reared to industry, 

1 Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., i Sess., 163, 164. 


with habits of the right kind, will always be able to 
cope successfully, if need be, with eight millions of 
men without these auxiliaries." ^ 

A private letter from Senator Hammond shows a 
situation impossible of continuance: "I assure you 
and you may philosophize upon it, that unless the 
slavery question can be wholly eliminated from 
politics, this government is not worth two years', 
perhaps not two months', purchase. So far as I 
know, and as I believe, every man in both houses 
is armed with a revolver — some with two — and a 
bowie knife. . . . Seeing the oldest and most con- 
servative senators on our side . . . get revolvers, I 
most reluctantly got one myself. ... I can't carry 
it. . . . But I keep a pistol now in my drawer ... as 
a matter of duty to my section. . . . While regarding 
this Union as cramping the South, I will neverthe- 
less sustain it as long as I can. Yet I will stand by 
my side — as you would — to the end. I firmly be- 
lieve that the slaveholding South is now the con- 
trolling power of the world — that no other power 
would face us in hostility. This will be demon- 
strated if we come to the ultimate ; . . . cotton, rice, 
tobacco, and naval stores command the world; and 
we have sense enough to know it. . . . The North 
without us would be a motherless calf, bleating 
about, and die of mange and starvation." ^ 

^ Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., i Sess., 120. 

2 Letter to Francis Lieber, April 19, i860, Perry, Francis 
Lieber, 310. 




With such existing and growing antagonism 
marked by such action as an act by the Virginia 
legislature for ''a full and complete arming of the 
state," separation was a mere question of time and 
opportimity. Every utterance of the kind in Con- 
gress had its echo in the press, North and South, but 
much more powerfully in the latter, since the North 
was far from being awakened to the imminence of 
the situation. The close analogy between the irrec- 
oncilables of both sections failed when applied to 
the effects of their utterances; the abolitionists 
were taken seriously by the South ; the secessionists 
were never so taken by the North until actual seces- 
sion came. The Republicans adopted the habit of 
simply disbelieving these predictions. Seward said: 
I remain now in the opinion I have uniformly ex- 
pressed here and elsewhere that these hasty threats 
of disunion are so unnatural that they will find no 
hand to execute them." ^ Senator Wilson could 
speak, January, i860, of the ''disunion predictions, 
arguments, and threats" with which "every breeze 
from the South is burdened," as "this broad 

FARCE." ^ 

In the Senate, where there were 37 Democrats, 
24 Republicans, and 2 Americans, with one vacancy 
each from Oregon, Minnesota, and Texas, the spirit 
was no better. The resolution of Mason, of Virginia, 
December 6, 1859, to appoint a committee to inquire 

* Gong. Globe, 36 Cong., i Sess., 914. 

* Ibid.f 572. The emphasis is his own. 


into the facts of the Harper's Ferry invasion brought 
out a sectional discussion, through an amendment 
offered by Trumbull, of Illinois, to extend the inquiry 
to the seizure, December, 1855, from the United 
States arsenal at Liberty, of a quantity of arms (in- 
cluding three field-pieces) by a large body of Missou- 
rians for use in Kansas. Nor did the discussion end 
with the unanimous adoption of the resolution, im- 
amended, December 14; it extended throughout the 
session, with the added acrimony and personality 
which the approaching political conventions nat- 
urally induced. Toombs, in a very able speech, 
apostrophizing his state, exclaimed: ''Never permit 
this Federal government to pass into the traitor- 
ous hands of the Black Republican party. It has 
already declared war against you and your insti- 
tutions. It every day commits acts of war against 
you; it has already compelled you to arm for your 
defense. Listen to 'no vain babblings,' to no 
treacherous jargon about 'overt acts'; they have 
already been committed. Defend yourselves, the 
enemy is at your door ; wait not to meet him at the 
hearth stone — meet him at the doorsill and drive 
him from the temple of liberty or pull down its pil- 
lars and involve him in a common ruin." * 

Stephen A. Douglas, January 16, offered a bill of 
demagogic propitiation to the South, for the pro- 
tection of states from invasion by another state, 
based upon Wise's communication, as governor, to 

* Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., i Sess., App., 93. 




the president, regarding reported conspiracies, and 
calling upon the latter to take steps to preserve the 
peace between the states; to which Buchanan had 
replied that he was at a loss to discover any pro- 
vision in the Constitution or laws which would au- 
thorize him to take steps for such a purpose. In 
his speech supporting the bill, Douglas had "no 
hesitation" in expressing his "firm and deliberate 
conviction that the Harper's Ferry crime w^as the 
natural, logical, inevitable result of the doctrines 
and teachings of the Republican party. . . . The 
great principle that underlies the organization . . . 
is violent, irreconcilable, eternal warfare upon the 
institution of American slavery, with the view of 
its ultimate extinction throughout the land." Its 
"vitality consists in appeals to northern passion, 
northern prejudice, northern ambition against 
southern states, southern institutions, and southern 
people." ^ The speech was one which could have 
well been made by a senator from South Carolina 
instead of from Illinois. Throughout it was typical 
of Douglas's want of serious conviction of any kind, 
and of the spirit which we have come to call that of 
the politician, which will bid for votes at any price; 
and his action had no other effect than to give op- 
portunity for a long debate on slavery, ending in 
a strong disunion sentiment by Senator Hunter, 
of Virginia, a cruel analysis by the keen mind of 
Davis, and a discussion which showed the general 
* Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., i Sess., 553. 

VOL. XIX. — 7 


crudeness of the mental make-up of Douglas, who 
will stand in history, almost with Calhoun, as a 
marplot against the peace of the Union. 

Davis offered a bill to issue to any state or terri- 
tory, on application, arms made at the United States 
armories on payment of an amount sufficient to re- 
place by manufacture the arms issued, which had 
in the light x>l coming events a sufficiently ugly look 
to cause a united Republican vote in the negative.^ 

William H. Seward was with one consent re- 
garded by the South as the coming nominee of the 
Republican party; his nomination was looked for- 
ward to with double bitterness throughout the 
section, because of the boldness of his expressions 
on slavery in and out of Congress, and Governor 
Letcher, of Virginia, gave form to the almost uni- 
versal sentiment of the South in his message of 
i860 to the legislature of Virginia: "The idea of 
permitting such a man to have the control and di- 
rection of the army and navy of the United States, 
and the appointment of high judicial and execu- 
tive officers, postmasters included, cannot be enter- 
tained by the South for a moment." 

The southern leaders recognized that the presi- 
dential contest of i860 would under any circimi- 
stances be close, and dangerously so in the divided 
state of the Democratic party. For while Douglas 
was looked upon by the Democracy of the North 
as certain to be its next candidate, he had been dis- 
* &ong. Globe, 36 Cong., i Sess., 1352. 


i86o] CONGRESS 99 

carded by the South through the very action by 
which he had hoped to ingratiate himself with the 
southerners. His abrogation of the ]\Iissouri Com- 
promise at the time of the passage of the Kansas- 
Nebraska bill was in line with southern views ; but 
when squatter sovereignty failed to make Kansas a 
slave territory, Douglas and his doctrine became to 
the South anathema. 

To bring out this internal division of the party, 
Jefferson Davis, February 2 and March i, i860, sub- 
mitted a series of resolutions, the first and second 
of which were substantially the state - sovereignty 
doctrine of Calhoim; the third affirmed it to be the 
duty of the Senate, " which represents the states in 
their sovereign capacity," to resist all attempts to 
discriminate as to persons or property in the terri- 
tories; the fourth attacked Douglas's Freeport Doc- 
trine by declaring that "neither Congress nor a 
territorial legislattire, by direct or indirect legisla- 
tion, has the power to annul or impair the consti- 
tutional right of any citizen, to take his slave 
property into the common territories and there 
hold and enjoy the same while the territorial con- 
dition remained"; the fifth made it the duty of 
Congress to supply remedies, if adequate protec- 
tion should not otherwise be afforded; the sixth 
provided that the inhabitants of a territory, when 
admitted as a state, might decide whether to have 
slavery or not; the seventh demanded that the 
constitutional provision as to fugitive slaves and 


the laws made to secure its execution should be 
honestly and faithfully observed and maintained by 
all; and that all acts of individuals or state legis- 
latures to defeat or nullify these were "hostile in 
character, subversive of the constitution and revo- 
lutionary in effect." ^ 

These resolutions abandoned all theories of "non- 
interference" and of popular sovereignty in favor of 
the startling proposition that slavery was the nor- 
mal and constitutional status in every territory, 
and that Congress must protect that status. The 
views were not new to Davis's mind; he had stated 
them broadly July 12, 1848, in a speech upon the 
Oregon bill, when he "denied that there was any 
power in Congress or in the people of the territory 
to interrupt the slave system," and "asserted it to 
be the duty of the United States to protect the 
property of a slave-owner during the transit from 
one state to another," ^ views at the time the more 
remarkable inasmuch as, when secretary of war in 
1854, he cordially assented to Douglas's squatter- 
sovereignty views and aided in advancing them. 
Davis's resolutions were, however, now offered in 
effect as the platform of the southern wing of the 
Democratic party, and Douglas was given to un- 
derstand that he must stand on this ground or 
lose the support of the South, which had come to 
view his doctrine as a bar against the admission or 

^ Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., i Sess,, 658, 935. 
^ Ibid., 30 Cong., i Sess., 927. 




establishment of slavery in any territory as effectual 
as the Wilmot proviso.^ 

While the two foremost representatives of the 
Democratic party, Douglas and Davis, were thus at 
sword's point, two Republicans of unequal promi- 
nence made nearly at the same moment speeches 
which attracted the attention of the country. The 
one expected, with almost the certainty of receiv- 
ing it, the Republican candidacy for president; the 
other but a year since had been disappointed in the 
only hope of high political station which he seems 
to have really held out to himself — the seat in the 
Senate so long held by Douglas. The possibility of 
being president but slowly dawned in Lincoln's 
mind. But he had stepped into greatness, and 
was carried far on the road to fame, by his debate 
with Douglas in 1858. 

These speeches were speedily published and had 
a wide circulation. Their truth, fairness, and logic 
made Lincoln a marked man in the thoughtful 
minds of the East as well as among the populace of 
the West, many thousands of whom he had faced 
from the platform. He was called upon during 
1859 for speeches and addresses in several of the 
western states — in Kansas, in Wisconsin, in Ohio; 
and it is not strange that he should have received 
an invitation from the Young Men's Central Repub- 
lican Union of New York City to come east. His 

^ Speech of Iverson, of Georgia, January 9, i860, Cong. Globe, 
36 Cong., I Sess., 380. 


speech in response, at the Cooper Institute, Febru- 
ary 27, i860, before a brilliant and intellectual audi- 
ence, was a marked and, if we could trace all the 
threads of politics, perhaps a momentous event. 
His text was the understanding of those who 
framed the Constitution as to the power of the 
Federal government to control slavery in the terri- 
tories. No better or more powerful presentation of 
the subject, it may be said none so good or power- 
ful, has been made; and it deserved the praise of 
Greeley as being "the very best political address 
to which I ever listened — and I have heard some of 
Webster's grandest."^ Lincoln in his final sentence 
epitomized the principles which were later to give 
him strength in a period of stress such as seldom 
falls to man: "Let us have faith that right makes 
might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do 
our duty as we understand it." ^ 

A marked feature of Lincoln's speeches through- 
out is the frequency with which he speaks of the 
United States as a "nation." It illustrates the fact 
that the West, the child itself of the Federal gov- 
ernment,^ had become permeated with the idea of 
nationality, distinct from that of an easily broken 
association which had become so dear to the mind 
of the South. 

Seward spoke in the Senate but two days later, 
February 29. His political prominence, the philos- 

^ Century Magazine, XX., 373 (July, 189 1). 

2 Lincoln, Works (ed. of 1898), I., 599-612. ^See above, p. 3. 

i86o] CONGRESS 103 

ophy, restraint, and general nobility of his speech, 
made it an event in the history of the time. He 
used as a text the memorial from the legislature of 
Kansas for admission to the Union, and made a 
powerful analysis of slavery. "What is just," he 
I said, ''to one class of men can never be injurious 
' to any other; and what is imjust to any condition 
of persons in a state is necessarily injurious in 
some degree to the whole community." The slave 
state ''affects to extinguish the personality of the 
laborer, not only as a member of the political body, 
but also as a parent, husband, child, neighbor, or 
friend. He thus becomes, in a political view, mere- 
ly property without moral capacity, and without 
domestic, moral, and social relations, duties, rights, 
and remedies. . . . The state protects not the slave 
as a man, but the capital of another man which he 
represents. On the other hand, the state which re- 
jects slavery encourages and animates and invigo- 
rates the laborer by maintaining and developing his 
natiiral personality in all the rights and faculties of 
manhood, and generally with the privileges of citi- 
zenship. In the one case capital invested in slaves 
becomes a great political force, while in the other 
labor thus elevated and enfranchised becomes the 
dominating political power." ^ 

This speech, reasonable and temperate, was, 
however, not of the kind to suit the fanatical spirit 
of those abolitionists whose leaders exalted John 
* Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., i Sess., 910. 


Brown to sainthood, but it pleased the reasonable 
man, to whom Seward was appealing, and met the 
views of the sober part of the North which, hav- 
ing no fellowship or sympathy with the murder- 
ous and disunionist spirit of the Garrison school, 
was practically the whole North, including not only 
sympathizers with slavery, but the great body of 
middle-state and western abolitionists. 

May 24, Davis's resolutions came to a vote, and 
were passed unchanged. On the first resolution 
there was a strict party vote, 38 to 19. The amend- 
ment offered by Harlan, of Iowa, to the second res- 
olution, that "free discussion of the morality and 
expediency of slavery should never be interfered 
with," and that ''freedom of speech and of the 
press . . . should be maintained inviolate," received 
but twenty votes. Most of the Republicans re- 
frained from voting on the later resolutions, which 
were all tranquilly passed. 

Congress lingered on into summer, the victim of 
factional strife. Keitt, in the House, epitomized 
the beliefs which were at the bottom of southern 
tactics a year later. "Touch a Southern state," he 
said, "with armed hand and the whole South would 
rush to its defense, and would emerge from the 
struggle with an organized slaveholding confed- 
eracy. And how vast would be the power of the 
South! She is now more imperial than Rome ever 
was. . . . The South has the monopoly of tropical 
productions and upon them hang the destinies of 



peace, civilization and empire." ^ Mad as this now 
seems, it was then to the southerner an axiom. 
Cotton was king, and civilization would halt and 
disappear with the ruin which would come to 
southern labor with freedom. 

Lovejo}^ brother of the man murdered at Alt on, ^ 
brought, by a violent anti-slavery speech, a scene 
of disorder in the House, with threats of violence 
which barely escaped leading to a bloody general 
fight; and this was followed by a challenge to a 
duel from Pryor, of Virginia, to Potter, of Wisconsin, 
who named bowie-knives as the weapons, a quarrel 
which attracted the attention and intensified the 
feeling of the whole Union. Legislation which in- 
volved any question of slavery was at a stand-still. 
A bill to admit Kansas under the Wyandotte con- 
stitution passed the House April ii by 134 to 73, 
but was laid aside by the Senate Jtine 5, and the 
Pacific Railroad bill was postponed by relegation to 
a select committee. 

The authorization of a committee under the 
chairmanship of Covode to inquire into the con- 
duct of the president was another evidence of 
the violent partisan feeling in the House. The re- 
port added to the unpopularity of the president 
throughout the country by the dissemination of 
"a crude mass of malicious matter," ^ though with 

* Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., i Sess., App., 97. 
2 See Hart, Slavery and Abolition {Am. Nation, XVI.), chap, 
xvii. ^ Schouler, United States, V., 451. 


much of truth deeply injurious to the administra- 

Mexican anarchy of the period was , a question 
worthy of the thought and space given it in the 
president's message. Juarez's government, ac- 
knowledged by the United States as the constitu- 
tional authority, held Vera Cruz, but was powerless 
in the interior, which was given over to lawlessness. 
Under the so-called Miramon government the re- 
public was deeply in debt to foreign powers, and 
there was already hanging over her an invasion by 
Spain, England, and France, from which the two 
first were soon wisely to withdraw. The president, 
though only hinting at such possibility, proposed to 
forestall the movement by like action of our own, 
and "employ a sufficient military force to enter 
Mexico for the purpose of obtaining indemnity for 
the past and security for the future.** His ex- 
pressed intention was to aid the constitutional 
forces of Mexico, the country being "entirely desti- 
tute of the power to maintain peace upon her bor- 
ders or to prevent the incursions of banditti into 
our territory."^ A treaty "of transit and com- 
merce" and a convention "to enforce treaty stipu- 
lations and to maintain order and security in the 
territory of the republics of Mexico and the United 
States** was signed by our minister, McLean, De- 
cember 14, 1859. For the payment of four millions 
the United States was to have control and a cer- 

* Richardson, Messages and Papers, V., 566. 

i86o] CONGRESS 107 

tain lien upon Mexican customs dues. While it 
gave the United States great advantages of isthmus 
trade and commerce, it gave Juarez a capital 
which might have enabled him to forestall the em- 
pire of Maximilian, but it would, almost beyond 
doubt, have fixed the grasp of the United States 
upon Mexico and have made a great extension 
of the slave power possible. Attempts (and they 
could only be the attempts of folly in the political 
situation) to secure Cuba or to extend our influence 
in Central America or Mexico disappeared in the 
caldron of sectional feeling. The underlying de- 
sign was too evident ; it was impossible to pass such 
a treaty in face of such a declaration as that of Sen- 
ator Brown, of Mississippi: want Cuba; I want 
Tamaulipas, Potosi, and one or two other Mexican 
states; and I want them all for the same reason, 
for the planting and spreading of slavery. ... I 
would spread the blessings of slavery, like the re- 
ligion of our divine Master, to the uttermost ends 
of the earth." Brown could also say: "I would 
make a refusal to acquire territory because it was 
to be slave territory, a cause of disunion, just as I 
would make the refusal to admit a new state, be- 
cause it was to be a slave state, a cause for dis- 
tmion." * 

The very favorable convention with Spain con- 
cluded at Madrid in March, i860, establishing a 
joint commission for the adjudication and pay- 
* Quoted by Wilson, Cong. Globe, 36 Gong., i Sess., 571, 573. 


merit of all claims, was to meet a like fate. The 
final blow to the hopes of southern extremists was, 
however, not to come until the very eve of the 
time when all effort was to be turned against the 
North, for September 30, i860, William Walker was 
captured on the Honduras coast, and twelve days 
later was shot. 



'HE Democratic convention was thus brought to- 

1 gether at Charleston, April 23, i860, under cir- 
cumstances which foreboded trouble. Caleb Cush- 
ing, of Massachusetts, was chosen chairman. Davis's 
resolutions in the Senate, supported as they were 
throughout the South, were evidently to be the 
motif of action for the more extreme southern mem- 
bers; and the committee on resolutions, one from 
each state, came together with irreconcilable views. 
The western members, besides a strong personal 
enthusiasm for Douglas, were well aware of the 
danger to their party in the North if an extremist 
platform were adopted, and insisted firmly on a 
platform which Douglas, as the only Democratic 
candidate who could carry the North, could accept. 
But southern members ''thought Douglas as bad 
as Seward and popular sovereignty as hateful as 
Sewardism." ^ It had been determined long before 
that under no circumstances should Douglas be ac- 



Rhodes, United States, II., 443. 


cepted on his own platform. The result, after fotir 
days' discussion in the committee, was the presen- 
tation, April 27, of a majority report, representing 
seventeen states (including California and Oregon), 
with 127 electors, and a minority report represent- 
ing 172 electoral votes. The majority reaffirmed 
the Cincinnati platform of 1856 of "non-interfer- 
ence by Congress with slavery in state or territory, 
or in the District of Columbia"; but added the 
fateful principle that during the existence of the 
government of a territory all citizens of the United 
States have an equal right to settle with their 
property in the territory, without their rights, 
either of person or property, being destroyed or im- 
paired by congressional or territorial legislation; 
and that it was the duty of the Federal govern- 
ment, in all its departments, to protect, when 
necessary, such rights. 

The minority report also readopted the Cincin- 
nati platform, but, to cover the "differences of 
opinion ... as to the nature and extent of the 
powers of a territorial legislature, and as to the 
powers and duties of Congress under the Constitu- 
tion of the United States over the institution of 
slavery within the territories,** added a resolution 
"That the Democratic party will abide by the de- 
cisions of the Supreme Court ... on the questions 
of constitutional law." * Benjamin F. Butler, of 

* Stanwood, Hist, of the Presidency, 282, 284; McKee, National 
Conventions and Platforms, 108. 


Massachusetts, later general, made a separate re- 
port of his own, proposing simply to reaffirm the 
Cincinnati platform as it stood. 

Henry B. Payne, of Ohio, in offering the minority 
report, said: ''It is not a personal victory which we 
seek to achieve, God knows, but every gentleman 
on that committee has felt in his conscience and in 
his heart that upon the result of our deliberations 
and the action of this Convention, in all human 
probability, is dependent the fate of this party and 
the destiny of this Union." He dwelt upon the ear- 
nest and patriotic desire to adjust the party dif- 
ferences, but claimed that the trouble came from 
the South. "I can prove," he said, "here, by the 
recorded testimony of almost every distinguished 
Senator or Representative from the Southern States, 
that from 1850 to 1856 there was not a dissent- 
ing opinion [to the principle of the Cincinnati plat- 
form] expressed on the records of Congressional 
discussion^ — not one. ... I say to you, in the so- 
lemnity of my heart, that if the resolutions pre- 
sented here by the majority of the committee be 
adopted, . . . you cannot expect any assistance from 
the Democracy of the Northern States in electoral 
votes or in members of Congress. ... I do not be- 
lieve we can elect a single member of Congress in the 
whole Northwest, unless it be in Lower Egypt. 

Yancey, of Alabama, whose oratory, to a southern 
audience, was irresistible, and who, though in early 
^ National Intelligencer, May i, i860. 


life an ardent Unionist, had long stirred the fires of 
separation until he now had them ablaze, held up 
a lurid picture of the superlative evils which the 
adoption of the minority report must bring. " Ours, " 
he said, "is the property invaded; ours are the in- 
stitutions which are at stake ; ours is the peace that 
is to be destroyed ; ours is the property that is to be 
destroyed; ours is the honor at stake — the honor of 
our children, the honor of families, the lives per- 
haps of all — all of which rests upon what your 
course may ultimately make a great heaving vol- 
cano of passion and crime, if you are enabled to 
consummate your designs." ^ 

Yancey scored the Democrats of the North be- 
cause they " acknowledged that slavery was wrong. 
. . . You acknowledged that it could not exist 
anywhere by the law of Nature or by the law of 
God; that it could exist nowhere except by virtue 
of statutory enactment. In that you yielded the 
whole question. ... If you had taken the posi- 
tion that has been taken by one gallant son of 
the North, who proclaimed, under the hisses of 
thousands, that slavery was right, that anti- sla- 
very demon, if not dead, would long since have 
been in chains at your feet." ^ The southern lead- 
ers had come to that point of dementia where no 
difference of opinion upon slavery was to be tol- 

When, on the sixth day of the convention, the 
^ National Intelligencer, May 8, i860. ^ Ihid. 


minority report was adopted by 165 to 138, the 
effect of Ya.ncey's influence was shown. The dele- 
gates from Alabama at once presented a written 
protest in obedience to the behest of their state 
convention, by which they were ''positively in- 
structed to withdraw" unless propositions, such as 
were affirmed in the majority report, should be ac- 
cepted at the Charleston meeting. A majority of 
the delegates of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, 
Louisiana, and Arkansas followed, the chairman of 
each making a speech of justification. 

The main convention, now reduced to 253 votes, 
proceeded to ballot under the two-thirds rule.^ After 
fifty-seven ballots, in which Douglas's highest vote 
was 151^; and the next highest was that of 66 for 
Guthrie, of Kentucky, it was clear that a choice 
was impossible so long as Douglas's supporters re- 
mained firm; and the convention adjourned, May 3, 
to meet in Baltimore, June 18. Meantime the seced- 
ing members had met, elected James A. Bayard, of 
Delaware, chairman, adopted the majority plat- 
form of the committee, and adjourned to meet at 
Richmond, Jime 10.^ 

The act of the Alabama delegation was the first 
step in the great drama of secession about to open, 
and it was with sober minds that many men re- 
turned North, convinced that the Democratic party 

* For reasons for the adoption of this rule, see Buchanan's 
speech, Washington, July 9, i860, in Curtis, Buchanan, II., 290. 
2 Hart, Am. Hist, told by Contemporaries, IV., § 49. 

VOL. XIX. — 8 


was hopelessly divided. Even in the South this 
extreme doctrine found opposition. Gaulden, of 
Georgia, said: *'I believe that this doctrine of pro- 
tection to slavery in the territories is a mere the- 
ory, a mere abstraction. Practically it can be of 
no consequence to the South for the reason that the 
infant has been strangled before it was born. . . . 
We have no slaves to carry into the territories. 
We can never make another slave state with our 
present supply of slaves." To do this ''you will be 
obliged to give up another state — either Maryland, 
Delaware or Virginia — to free soil upon the North." 
If the territories were to be occupied, he held that 
it was necessary to reopen the African slave-trade, 
which he strongly urged and which he said was less 
immoral and unchristian than the slave-trade of 

May 9, a week before the meeting of the Repub- 
lican convention, the delegates of the party calling 
itself the "Constitutional Union" met in Baltimore 
and nominated Bell, of Tennessee, and Everett, 
of Massachusetts, as president and vice-president. 
The members were chiefly of the disintegrated 
Whig and ''American" parties, and represented the 
conservative element of the country, both in the 
North and in the South. A platform was adopted 
recognizing "No political principles other than 
THE Constitution of the country, the union 
OF the states, and the enforcement of the 

* Greeley, Am. Conflict, I., 316. 


LAWS." ^ While it was clearly impossible to elect 
the candidates, it was hoped that the action would 
throw the election into the House, and it had un- 
questionable effect in staying, throughout the can- 
vass, much disunion sentiment which otherwise 
would have had free course. 

When the Democratic regular convention recon- 
vened in Baltimore, June 18, a wrangle over the 
admission of delegates elected to replace some of 
those who had withdrawn, and who now wished 
admission again, ended in a second secession of 
delegates, including those from Virginia, North Caro- 
lina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Caleb Cushing fol- 
lowed their example, as did the Massachusetts dele- 
gation led by Benjamin F. Butler, who announced 
that he would not sit in a convention ''where the 
African slave trade, which is a piracy by the laws 
of my country, is approvingly advocated." Soule, 
of Louisiana, still clung to Douglas, and was terri- 
bly severe upon the seceders as "an army of un- 
principled and unscrupulous politicians." ^ Douglas 
was nominated upon the second ballot, his highest 
competitor, Guthrie, receiving but ten votes. Fitz- 
patrick, of Alabama, a southerner of the most ad- 
vanced type, was chosen for vice-president; he de- 
clined, and Herschel V. Johnson, of Georgia, equally 
advanced, was substituted. 

The Charleston seceders met at Richmond, June 

1 McKee, National Conventions and Platforms, 117, 

2 Wilson, Slave Power, II., 687. 


II, but adjourned to Baltimore, where they met 
June 28, twenty-one states being fully or partially 
represented. Gushing was again president ; the plat- 
form rejected there was now unanimously adopted, 
and John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, and Gen- 
eral Joseph Lane, of Oregon, were unanimously 
nominated for president and vice-president. 

The Republican convention met in Chicago, May 
16. Besides all the free states, Delaware, Mary- 
land, Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, the District 
of Columbia, and the territories of Kansas and 
Nebraska had representatives. Four names were 
prominently before the convention — Seward, Lin- 
coln, Chase, and Bates ; but there were few through- 
out the country who doubted the success of the 
first. Chase's chances were greatly damaged by 
the fact that Judge McLean and Senator Wade, 
both of whom were candidates, were from the same 
state. Schurz had frankly given his opinion to 
Chase: "Governor, if the Republicans at Chicago 
have the courage to nominate an advanced anti- 
slavery man they will nominate Seward; if not, 
they will not nominate you." ^ Bates, a Missourian, 
had weight with those who saw in him an oppor- 
tunity for a compromise, as he was a conservative 
southern man with anti- slavery principles strong 
enough to cause him to free his slaves. His most 
prominent supporter was Horace Greeley, who, for 
private reasons as well as public, had brought all 
^ Bancroft, Seward, L, 526. 


the great weight of the Tribune against Seward/ 
and to whose efforts both Seward himself and 

, Weed, his bosom friend, mainly, though incorrect- 

' ly, attributed Seward's defeat. 

The platform quoted the clause of the Decla- 

I ration of Independence beginning, *'A11 men are 

! created equal"; denounced threats of disunion; de- 
clared as essential to our system ''the right of each 

|: state to order and control its own domestic institu- 
tions according to its own judgment"; denounced 
the invasion by an armed force of any state or ter- 

1 ritory; condemned the subservience of the adminis- 
tration **to the exactions of a sectional interest," 
and stigmatized as *'a dangerous political heresy" 
"the new dogma — that the Constitution of its own 
force carries slavery into any or all of the terri- 

The eighth resolution took a position never be- 
fore adopted by a political party — "That the nor- 
mal condition of all the territory of the United 
States is that of freedom; that as our republican 
fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our 
national territory ordained that 'no person should 
be deprived of life, liberty or property without due 
process of law,' it becomes our duty by legislation, 
whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain 
this provision of the constitution against all at- 
tempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of 
Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of individ- 

* Barnes, Weed, chap, xxi. 


uals to give legal existence to slavery in any ter- 
ritory of the United States." 

This advanced ground ignored the fact that Con- 
gress had both allowed and prohibited slavery in a 
territory. Under the compromise of 1820 it was 
tacitly allowed to continue south of 36° 30' ; and by 
the compromise of 1850 New Mexico, which Clay 
believed to be free, was opened to slavery. The 
resolution was ''a reading of the constitution dia- 
metrically opposed to the Southern reading. The 
political men who framed this ' platform ' doubtless 
considered that the time had come for a direct an- 
tagonism between the North and South on this subject 
so that it might be decided by the votes of the peo- 
ple. . . . That such antagonism was the consequence 
and purpose of this declaration of a new principle of 
action on this subject will be denied by no one." ^ 

In the remaining eight resolutions Congress was 
called upon to suppress finally the African slave- 
trade reopened under cover of our flag; the admis- 
sion of Kansas was called for; a protective policy 
recommended ; the passage of the homestead bill de- 
manded; full protection to all citizens, native and 
naturalized, supported; river and harbor improve- 
ments of a national character favored; and imme- 
diate and efficient aid from Congress to a Pacific 
railroad demanded.^ 

^ Curtis, Buchanan, II., 285. 

2 Stanwood, Hist, of the Presidency, 291, 294; McKee, National 
Conventions and Platforms, 11 3-1 16; Lincoln, Works (ed. of 
1894), I., 635-637. 


When it came to ballot for the candidates, 233 
votes were necessary to a choice. The first ballot 
stood: Seward, 173^; Lincoln, 102; Cameron, 50^-; 
Chase, 49; Bates, 48; scattering, 42. On the second 
ballot Seward had 184 J ; Lincoln, 181. On the third 
there were 180 for Seward, 231 for Lincoln. To 
make the necessary majority, four Ohio votes were 
changed from Chase to Lincoln, and others followed 
until he had 354 out of the whole 446, when Evarts, 
of New York, performed the melancholy courtesy 
of moving that the vote be declared unanimous.^ 

Hannibal Hamlin, of Maine, was nominated for 

The result was a shock of surprise to the country 
at large, and particularly in the East, as Seward's 
nomination had been looked upon as secure. The 
failure filled his followers ,with gloom and bitter- 
ness. Thurlow Weed shed tears.^ The East knew 
Lincoln by report as abnormally imcouth, as the 
natural outcome of a rough early life spent in split- 
ting rails and in flat-boating upon the Ohio and 
Mississippi. The South in addition, ignoring the 
conservative attitude involved in the full expres- 
sion of his most sane and reasonable views, ^ regard- 
ed him as one of the monsters of depravity who had 

^Rhodes, United States, II., 456-473; Greeley, Am. Conflict, 
I., 319-321; Stanwood, Hist, of the Presidency, 2 go-2g^; Hart, 
Am. Hist, told by Contemporaries, IV., § 50. 

^ Barnes, Weed, 271. 

^ See speech of October 16, 1854, Lincoln, Works (ed. of 1894), 
I., 187. 


declared that war must be made upon slavery, se- 
lecting a single sentence, his declaration that "a 
house divided against itself cannot stand. I be- 
lieve this government cannot endure permanently 
half slave and half free"^ as typifying his stand 
and probable course of action. He was nominated 
largely because of this conservatism so unwisely dis- 
regarded by the South, and as a more available 
candidate for this reason than Seward. It is a 
striking fact that the Garrison school of abolition- 
ists themselves were opposed to the result.^ 

Seward himself had been certain of success, de- 
spite the knowledge of an opposition, the grounds 
of which were frankly stated to him by an eminent 
member of his own party. When about leaving 
Washington he complained to Senator Wilson of the 
latter's antagonism. Wilson replied, substantially: 
''If I could elect a President, I should nominate 
you or Mr. Chase. . . . But . . . like Mr. Chase, you 
have by your ability and long devotion to the anti- 
slavery cause, excited prejudices and awakened 
conservative fears in the great states of Pennsyl- 
vania, Indiana, Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecti- 
cut which are to be the battle ground of the con- 
test, and whose votes must be secured to give 
success. ... I do not think your name will com- 
mand the necessary strength." Nevertheless, Sew- 
ard left the Senate chamber with Sumner, reiterat- 

^ Speech at Springfield, June 16, 1858, Lincoln, Works (ed. of 
1894), I., 240. ^ Garrisons, Garrison, III., 502. 


ing his confidence, assured of both the nomination 
| j and election.^ 

Seward had failed to recognize the weight and in- 
fluence gained by his western antagonist just pre- 
ceding the election. Even a few in the South had 
begun to comprehend that Lincoln was more than 
the uncouth boor, the possibility of whose nomina- 
tion had been derided. Benjamin, of Louisiana, 
was one of the southerners who had come to recog- 
nize the lofty qualities of his nature and mind. In 
his speech in the Senate against Douglas, of May 
22, he said, referring to the category of questions 
put by Douglas to Lincoln in the debate of 1858,^ 
the answers to which are among the finest in char- 
acter of Lincoln's statements, "It is impossible, Mr. 
President, however we may dift'er in opinion with 
the man not to admire the perfect candor and 
frankness with which these answers are given; no 
equivocation — no evasion." ^ 

The victor}^ for Lincoln was in fact a simple 
question of availability. He had not been seri- 
ously thought of for the presidency until his ac- 
claim at the Republican state convention at De- 
catur, Illinois, May 10, i860. There can be little 
doubt that a large majority of those assembled at 
Chicago went expecting to vote for Seward. " Cer- 
tainly two thirds of the delegates . . . preferred him 

^ Wilson, Slave Power, II., 694. 

2 Lincoln, Works (ed. of 1894), L, 306. 

^ Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., i Sess., 2237. 


for president." ^ But Pennsylvania and Indiana 
were to hold elections for governor in October. 
Those who had nominated Curtin in Pennsylvania 
had not even yet taken the name ''Republican." 
It was a party of fusionists in which the "Ameri- 
can" element was strong, and this element was bit- 
terly opposed to Seward through his favoring a 
division of school funds. " Without its aid the suc- 
cess of Curtin was simply impossible. A like con- 
dition of things existed in Indiana. . . . While the 
anti-slavery sentiment asserted itself by the election 
of a majority of Republicans to Congress in 1858, 
the entire Democratic State ticket was successful by 
majorities varying from 1534 to 2896. . . . The one 
thing that Curtin, Lane [the Republican nominee 
for governor in Indiana] and their respective lieu- 
tenants agreed upon, was that the nomination of 
Seward meant hopeless defeat in their respective 
States." 2 

Seward thus, in fact, though it was not appar- 
ent, was defeated before the convention met. The 
struggle really lay between Lincoln and Bates, and 
Lincoln had immensely the advantage in the locale 
of the convention. It was the first which had been 
held at Chicago, and it was in his own state. The 
environment was one which knew the man and his 
worth. The fact, too, that Douglas was certain to 
be the nominee of the regular Democratic conven- 

^ McClure, Lincoln and Men of War Times, 28. 
2 Ibid., 31-33. 


tion was greatly in Lincoln's favor. The publica- 
tion of the speeches of the great contest of 1858 had 
shown the superior logic and ability of Lincoln, and 
if able to assert his superiority then, there could be 
little doubt of his ability to meet him on more than 
a favorable footing in the great contest about to 
come. If the hand of Providence is ever to be rec- 
ognized in himian affairs, it was in this debate and 
in this nomination. 


(September-November, i860) 

^HE final days of the session of Congress, end- 

1 ing June 25, i860, showed the nebulous state 
of mind of the prominent men of the North, and 
how slight a grasp they had upon the realities of 
the situation. At the instance of Sherman, of 
Ohio, the estimate for repairs and equipment of the 
navy was cut down a million; his influence had 
caused even a greater reduction the preceding year. 
Senator Pugh, of the same state, could say, "I 
think we have spent enough money on the navy, 
certainly for the service it has rendered; and for 
one I shall vote against building a single ship under 
any pretense at all." ^ The blatant Lovejoy, in the 
face of the rising storm, said, " I am tired of ap- 
propriating money for the army and navy when ab- 
solutely they are of no use whatever. ... I want to 
strike a blow at this whole navy expenditure and 
let the navy go out of existence. . . . Let us blow 
the whole thing up ! let these vessels rot ; and when 

Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., i Sess., 3109. 


we want vessels to fight, we can get mercantile ves- 
sels and arm them with our citizens." ^ 

An absurd exhibition of want of naval power had 
just been made in a demonstration against Para- 
guay. The whole existing steam navy consisted of 
but twenty-three vessels which could be called efifi- 
cient and thirteen which were worthless, and while 
there was a willingness and effort on the part of the 
northern senators and representatives to add to the 
force, it was put wholly upon the ground of the sup- 
pression of the slave-trade. Morse, of Maine, chair- 
man of the naval committee in the House, urged 
that this increase should take the form of a pur- 
chase of small steamers of six to nine feet draught 
for African service. There appears no glimmering in 
the mind of any one of the speakers of the coming 
of a great war, then but nine months distant, and 
in which the North could not have been successful 
had it not been for the throttling by the blockade 
and the occupancy of the Mississippi. 

The last month of the session gave time for a four 
hours' speech by Sumner on slavery,^ "harsh, vin- 
dictive," ^ brutal, and unwise, and however true in 
its elaboration of statistics and statement of facts, 
wholly unnecessary in such a place and at such a 
time. It exhibited the full-fledged hatred which 

* Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., i Sess., 2848, 2849. 
^ Ibid., 2590-2603. 

^Grimes, of Iowa, in a letter to his wife, June 4, i860, Salter, 
Grimes, 127. 


had been in incubation during the four years of 
Sumner's absence caused by the brutality of Brooks, 
and, however true, could not redound to the author's 
good sense or good taste, nor to the benefit of his 
party, already overwhelmed with the charge of sec- 
tionalism. It is an excellent repository of compara- 
tive statistics, and would better have appeared as 
an abolition pamphlet. 

The strain of the political situation was somewhat 
offset by the arrival of the first Japanese embassy 
to a foreign power, which reached Washington the 
middle of May and left for home the last of June, in 
the frigate Niagara. The Prince of Wales, later 
visiting^ Canada, added, on the invitation of the 
president, a tour in the United States. His stay of 
three weeks, from the end of September to October 
20, during which he was everywhere received with 
enthusiastic welcome, may have had some influence 
to fix the kindly spirit of the queen, of which, in 
the stormy years following, we were to have such 
weighty evidences. 

The defeat of the Democrats in Pennsylvania and 
Indiana in October, i860, made the election of 
Lincoln almost a certainty. The result in the for- 
mer state, which had been suffering from the de- 
pression of the iron trade, the outcome of the panic 
of 1857, had been greatly aided by the Republican 
advocacy of protection. The danger of secession, 
which might follow, was naturally cried down by 
Republican speakers, for a real fear of such an event 


would undoubtedly have lessened Republican energy 
and have reduced the vote. The North was in no 
humor to bring the question to such an issue, how- 
ever strong the general anti-slavery sentiment. For 
this sentiment was not so determined against sla- 
very itself as against its extension, and the North 
by this time was beginning to feel that it could 
t control the territories in any case. Seward was but 
expressing the irrepressible American optimism 
which would not consider such threats as dangerous 
until the actuality was upon the country, when, 
November 2, he said at New York: ''For ten — 
aye, twenty years, these threats have been renewed 
in the same language and in the same form, about 
the first day of November every four years, when it 
happened to come before the day of the presidential 
election. I do not doubt but that these southern 
statesmen and politicians think they are going to 
dissolve the Union, but I think they are going to do 
no such thing." * 

Lowell spoke "of the hollowness of those fears 
for the Union in case of Mr. Lincoln's election," 
and called to mind that false alarms had been 
sounded before. "The old Mumbo Jumbo," he as- 
serted, "is occasionally paraded at the North, but, 
however many old women may be frightened, the 
pulse of the stock market remains provokingly calm. ' ' ^ 

Douglas, who from association knew the southern 

1 Seward, Works (ed. of 1884), IV., 420. 

2 Lowell, Political Essays, 26, 41. 


mind more intimately, and who had had in the last 
few years but too good reason to know its bitterness, 
so much of which was directed against himself, saw 
much more clearly. He declared at Chica^go, "I 
believe this country is in more danger now than at 
any other moment since I have known anything of 
public life." ^ There was no doubt of the danger 
in the mind of any patriotic southerner. Bell and 
Breckinridge, through the intermediation of Davis, 
both offered to withdraw if an arrangement could 
be made by which those opposed to the Republicans 
could be united upon some one more generally ac- 
ceptable than either of the three in nomination. 
When this was stated to Douglas he said the scheme 
was impracticable, as his friends, mainly northern 
Democrats, would, if he were withdrawn, join in 
support of Lincoln, rather than of any one who 
should supplant him.^ Douglas had little or no ex- 
pectation of success; early in the canvass, in New 
England, he expressed to Burlingame and Wilson 
his conviction that Lincoln would be elected. Later 
he mentioned to a friend in Washington that he had 
renounced all hopes of election, but expressed the 
conviction that ''the Union would be safe under 
Mr. Lincoln, if it could be held together long enough 
for the development of his policy," though he con- 
fessed his fears that that could not be done.^ Moved 

^ National Intelligencer, October 5, i860. 
^ Davis, Confederate Government, I., 52. 
^ Wilson, Slave Power, II., 699. 


by his real Unionism, Douglas rose to a higher plane 
than at any earlier period of his life. His demagogy 
disappeared as the danger, so persistently minimized 
by the Republican leaders, loomed more porten- 
tously in his perception. "Receiving a despatch 
October 8th, from his devoted friend John W. 
Forney, announcing the result in Pennsylvania and 
another announcing that of Indiana, he said to his 
private secretary: 'Mr. Lincoln is the next presi- 
dent! We must try to save the Union. I will go 
South.'" ^ He cancelled all western engagements, 
and spoke in Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Geor- 
gia, and Alabama, everywhere averring his patriot- 
ism and the necessity of standing by the Union. 
At Norfolk, Virginia, to the question whether, if 
Lincoln be elected, the southern states would be 
justified in seceding, he said, '*I emphatically an- 
swer * no (great applause). To a second question, 
"If they . . . secede from the Union upon the in- 
auguration of Abraham Lincoln before he commits 
an overt act against their constitutional rights, will 
you advise or vindicate resistance by force to their 
secession?" he said: "I answer emphatically that 
it is the duty of the President of the United States 
and all others in authority under him to enforce the 
laws of the United States as passed by Congress, 
and as the courts expound them. (Cheers.) And 
I, as in duty bound by my oath of fidelity to the 
Constitution, would do all in my power to aid . . . 
* Wilson, Slave Power, II., 700. 

VOL. XIX. — 9 


in maintaining the supremacy of the laws against 
all resistance to them, come from what quarter it 
might. In other words, I think the President . . , 
whosoever he may be should treat all attempts to 
break up the Union by resistance to its laws, as 
Old Hickory treated the nullifiers in 1832 (ap- 
plause)." ^ At Petersburg he said there was no 
evil in the country for which the Constitution and 
''laws do not furnish a remedy, no grievance that 
can justify disunion." At Raleigh he said he was 
ready "to put the hemp round the neck and hang 
the man who would raise the arm of resistance to 
the constituted authorities of the country." ^ Doug- 
las's attitude then and thereafter atoned for much 
of his shortcomings of previous years. 

In the campaign every one was active but Lin- 
coln, who remained quietly at home, an observer 
only. Seward, who felt himself "a leader deposed 
. . . in the hour of organization for decisive battle," ^ 
showed a magnanimity in act and expression which 
was, in the words of Lowell, "a greater ornament 
to him and a greater honor to his party than his 
election to the presidency would have been." ^ 
"No truer or firmer defenders of the Republican 
faith," wrote Seward for an Auburn paper, "could 
have been found in the Union than the distinguished 

*Du Bose, Yancey, 523. 

2 Wilson, Slave Power, II., 700. 

8 Letter to his wife, in Seward, Seward, II., 454. 

^Atlantic Monthly, VI., 499 (October, i860). 


I and esteemed citizens on whom the honors of the 
nomination have fallen." ^ He proved this declara- 
tion by his works. 

Seward had not always felt thus: it is a mark of 
his generous character that he rose above a hasty 
determination expressed before the election. Medill 
expressed very strongly in the Chicago Tribune, 
February, i860, the view that Lincoln could be 
elected that year and that Seward could not. 
Meeting Medill in Washington, Seward spoke in 
strong terms of his disappointment in the latter 's 
preference for that ''prairie statesman," as Seward 
called Lincoln. ''He then proceeded to declare, 
with much heat and temper of expression, that if 
he was not nominated as the Republican candidate 
for president at the ensuing convention, he would 
shake the dust off his shoes and retire from the 
service of an ungrateful party for the remainder of 
his days." ^ How ephemeral was this feeling of 
pique has just been shown, and added evidence of 
the height to which he rose is in the series of great 
speeches made throughout the North. He did not 
shirk the question of an irrepressible conflict. He 
said, October 31, "Upon what issue is the American 
people divided in this political crisis, except a con- 
flict between freedom and slavery?" ^ Nor did he 
give any evidence of want of loyalty to the party 

^ Seward, Seward, II., 452. 

2 Letter of Medill to Frederic Bancroft, in Bancroft, Seward, 
I., 531. ^Seward, Works (ed. of 1884), IV., 399. 


nominee. November 2, four days before the elec- 
tion, he could say, ''If you elect that eminent, and 
able, and honest and reliable man, Abraham Lin- 
coln . . . and if, as I am sure you will during the 
course of the next four years, you constitute the 
United States Senate with a majority like him, and 
at the present election establish the House of Rep- 
resentatives on the same basis, you have then done 
exactly this: you have elected men who will leave 
slavery in the United States just exactly where it is 
now, and who will do more than that — who will 
leave freedom in the United States and every foot 
and every acre of the public domain . . . just ex- 
actly as it is now." ^ His references to the South 
were kindly; his course throughout wise, conserva- 
tive, and conciliatory. It was the apogee of his 
greatness. But, as mentioned, his optimism played 
him false in regard to the impending danger; in 
this respect he showed that he had passed his years 
in Washington to little purpose; he was no reader 
of men. 

Of the total 4,682,069 votes cast November 6, 
Lincoln received 1,866,452, or nearly forty per cent, 
of the whole; Douglas, 1,376,957; Breckinridge, 
849,781; Bell, 588,879. Of the 303 electoral votes, 
Lincoln received 180, being every northern vote ex- 
cept 3 of the 7 of New Jersey; Douglas received 3 
there and the 9 of Missouri; Bell received the 39 
of Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee ; Breckinridge 

1 Seward, Works (ed. of 1884), IV., 416. 


i the 72 of the remaining southern states/ It is a 
remarkable fact that in the southern states, ex- 
cluding South Carolina, in which the electors were 
elected by the legislature, Breckinridge received but 
;| 571,051 votes, against 515,973 for Bell; a difference 
of less than 60,000, showing that Bell received the 
support of almost all of the former Whig party. 
The total southern vote for the three candidates 
opposed to Breckinridge was 705,928, showing a 
majority with unionist sympathies of 134,877. It is 
evident that on the day of the election the masses 
of the South were not secessionist. The border 
states cast 26,430 votes for Lincoln, 17,028 of which 
were in Missouri. 

But while electing the executive, the Republicans 
were clearly to be in a minority in both Senate and 
House. Close estimates showed a majority of 
8 against the Republicans in the former and 21 in 
the latter.^ Certainly no serious ill could befall the 
South in such circumstances. 

In Stephens's view, Buchanan was responsible 
for the introduction at Charleston of the new dogma 
in the party platform which caused the rupture of 
the party. ^ It has been supposed, says Stephens, 
that the outcome of the movement which led to the 
rupture of the Democratic party: the secession at 

^ Stanwood, Hist, of the Presidency, 297 ; McKee, National Con- 
ventions and Platforms, 118, iig. 
2 Rhodes, United States, II., 501. 
^ Stephens, War between the States, II., 259. 


Charleston, the division at Baltimore, the nomina- 
tion of Breckinridge, was in order to further the 
ulterior purpose of disunion. No such result was, 
in Stephens's opinion, anticipated; and speaking for 
what he thought an overwhelming majority of 
those who advocated the action which had taken 
place, the movers were as much disappointed as 
''men ever were at the consequences of their own 
acts. They really hoped and expected the final re- 
sult to be the election of Mr. Breckinridge." Fail- 
ing election by the popular vote, they were quite 
assured that he would receive enough electoral votes 
to carry his name to the House of Representatives, 
should no one of the candidates receive a majority 
of votes cast by the electoral colleges. As the ma- 
jority of the representatives from the majority of 
states was Democratic, but opposed to Douglas, 
they considered the election of Breckinridge in such 
circimistances certain. Even failing this, they 
looked with confidence to the election of Lane as 
vice-president either by the electoral colleges or by 
the Senate, which was Democratic, and to him, they 
calculated, would fall the presidency should no 
choice for president be made by the electoral col- 
leges or by the House before March 4, 1861.^ 

In June none of the leaders of the southern wing 
of the Democrats thought the election of Lincoln 
and Hamlin possible, and when Stephens, in a 
speech at Augusta, Georgia, September i, i860, 
* Stephens, War between the States, II., 275-277. 


said that one need not be surprised to see civil war 
in less than six months, it was said that the weak- 
ness of his body was extending to his head, he was 
becoming "crazy." As time grew on apprehen- 
sions, however, became serious, and many of the 
leading men and papers supporting Breckinridge 
declared for secession in case they should not suc- 
ceed in the elections. When the result came, '4t 
struck the masses with general consternation." ^ 

^ Stephens, War between tite States ^ II., 277. 


(October, i860 -February, 1861) 

SEVERAL weeks before the election, steps had 
been taken in South Carolina looking to se- 
cession. A conference was held October 25 at the 
residence of Senator Hammond, at which were 
present Governor Gist, ex-Governor Adams, ex- 
Speaker Orr, and all the delegation of the state to 
Congress except one who was ill. It was there 
unanimously resolved to secede in the event of 
Lincoln's election.^ The governor called the legis- 
lature in special session for November 5, to cast 
the electoral vote of the state. Before the legislat- 
ure met there was a caucus called to meet at 
Columbia, at which were read letters from Pugh, 
Bullock, Yancey, and others, in reply to categorical 
questions from Gist in a circular letter of October 
5, as to what action it was desired South Carolina 
should take. The answers counselled that this state 
should take the lead, pledging the cotton states to 
support her, and dispelled the idea of jealousy of 
her leadership. The plea to wait for " cooperation" 

^ Crawford, Fort Sumter, 14. 



was thus set aside, a fact which largely influenced 
action later. ^ 

Governor Gist's message to the legislature advised 
that the legislature remain in session and prepare 
for any emergency, "in view of the probability of 
the election to the presidency of a sectional candi- 
date by a party committed to the support of meas- 
ures w^hich if carried out, will inevitably destroy 
our equality in the Union, and ultimately reduce 
the southern states to mere provinces of a consoli- 
dated despotism, to be governed by a fixed majority 
in Congress, hostile to oiu* institutions and fatally 
bent upon our ruin." In the event of Lincoln's 
election he was constrained to say that the only 
alternative was the secession of the state. He also 
recommended the use of all the available means of 
the state for arming every man between eighteen 
and forty-five, and that the services of ten thousand 
volimteers be immediately accepted. To this move- 
ment new impulse was given by the refusal of the 
grand jury of the United States district court, 
November 7, to make presentments, and by the res- 
ignation of Magrath, the judge of the court, who an- 
noimced that, "feeling an assurance of w^hat will be 
the action of the state, I consider it my duty, with- 
out delay, to prepare to obey its wishes. . . . Let us 
not forget . . . that he who acts against the wish or 

^ Crawford, Fort Sumter, 11 ; Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lin- 
coln, II., 306-314; cf. Hart, .4m. Hist, told by Contemporaries, 
IV., §§ 51, 52. 


without command of his State, usurps that sovereign 
authority which we must maintain inviolate." ^ 

The action of the legislature upon Governor Gist's 
message was the prompt and unanimous passage by 
the Senate, November 10, of a bill calling for elec- 
tions December 6, to a convention to be held Decem- 
ber 1 7 ; two days later it passed the House with like 

The convention met at Columbia on the day set, 
and, on account of an epidemic of small-pox, ad- 
journed to Charleston, where, at 1.15 p.m. of the 
20th, the ordinance of secession was passed. It w^as 
notably brief, as follows: "We, the people of the 
state of South Carolina in convention assembled do 
declare and ordain and it is hereby declared and 
ordained that the ordinance adopted by us in con- 
vention on the 23d of May, in the year of our Lord 
seventeen hundred and eighty eight, whereby the 
constitution of the United States was ratified and 
all the acts and parts of acts of the general Assembly 
of this state ratifying amendments of the said con- 
stitution are hereby repealed, and the Union now 
subsisting between South Carolina and the other 
states, under the name of the * United States of 
America,' is hereby dissolved." ^ 

For this momentous action no rashness of youth 
can be pleaded; more than half of the members of 
the convention were over fifty years of age; very 

* Crawford, Fort Sumter, 13. 

2 Hart, Am. Hist, told by Contemporaries, IV., 185. 



I many had had large experience of public life, four 
i as senators, five as governors of the state, nine as 
' judges; eight as members of the nullification con- 
vention of 1 83 2-1 83 3; twenty-eight as members of 
I the convention of 1852, which affirmed the right of 
j the state to secede.* 

South Carolina followed up the ordinance of se- 
cession with a declaration of independence which 
attempted to justify her action. It asserted that 
"The states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, 
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New 
York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wis- 
consin and Iowa have enacted laws which either 
nullify the acts of Congress or render useless any 
attempt to execute them." The non-slave-holding 
states "have assimied the right of deciding upon 
the propriety of our domestic institutions, and 
have denied the rights of property established in 
fifteen of the states and recognized by the Constitu- 
tion; they have denounced as sinful the institution 
of slavery." It complained of the open establish- 
ment of abolition societies; of the encouragement 
of slaves to escape, or rebel; of the election, by a 
section, of one who had declared that the "govern- 
ment cannot endure permanently half slave, half 
free"; of the elevation to citizenship of persons 
" who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable 
of becoming citizens"; of the announcement that 
the South "shall be excluded from the common 
* Crawford, Fort Sumter, 46. 


territory; that the judicial tribunals shall be made 
sectional, and that a war must be waged against 
slavery until it shall cease." It declared "all hope 
of remedy is rendered vain by the fact that public 
opinion at the North has invested a great political 
error with the sanctions of a more erroneous religious 
belief." ^ No mention of the tariff as a grievance 
is made in the document. All of the South Carolina 
senators and congressmen had voted for the tariff 
of 1857, and the fiery Keitt himself could say in the 
secession convention, in reply to a suggestion that 
it be mentioned, that no tariff since that of 1832 
had caused any desire for secession. 

Popular feeling in Georgia was so strong against 
separate state secession, that the legislature was 
obliged to rescind a resolution of December 7 look- 
ing to individual action.^ A convention was called 
for January 16, 1861 ; and December 14 an address, 
signed by fifty-two members of the legislature, then 
in session, was issued to the people of South Caro- 
lina, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and of such other 
slave states as might hold conventions earlier than 
that called in Georgia, asking that delegates be ap- 
pointed to a general convention of the southern 
states, and that until such convention should meet 
no final action should be taken by a separate state 
as to secession. 

South Carolina, well knowing the danger to the 

* Channing and Hart, Am. Hist. Leaflets, No. 12. 
^ Am. Annual Cyclop., 1861, p. 337. 

i860] secession ACCOMPLISHED 141 

secession movement from such a course, and with 
an instinctive feeHng of the power of sympathy by 
w^hich her sister states would be drawn to uphold 
actual accomplishment of her own designs, refused 
even to receive the message. Throughout, the 
leaders in this imfortunate state showed a deep 
knowledge of human nature ; of its waves of sympa- 
thy; its acceptance of actualities; its tendency to 
push forward a cause once the Rubicon was passed. 
It was Mephistophelian, but none the less effective, 
and deceived none more completely than the tm- 
happy president of the United States. 

The numerous public meetings in Georgia were 
''dignified and conservative in language and clearly 
indicated that hostility to the Union was neither 
deep-seated nor bitter."^ Alexander H. Stephens 
did much by his powerful speech before the legislat- 
ure of Georgia, November 14, to fix this temper; he 
denied the right to secede because of Mr. Lincoln's 
election ; he appealed to the people to maintain the 
Constitution and not to be its tmdoers by withdraw- 
ing on such a plea; and still more, not to anticipate 
a threatened evil. If Lincoln should violate the Con- 
stitution, then would be the time to act. "Do not 
let us break it, because, forsooth, he may. . . . The 
president of the United States is no emperor, no 
dictator — he is clothed with no absolute power. He 
can do nothing unless backed by power in Congress. 
The House of Representatives is largely in the 
^Am.Anmial Cyclop., 1861, p. 338. 


majority against him. ... In the Senate he will also 
be powerless. . . . Why, then, I say, should we dis- 
rupt the ties of this Union, when his hands are tied 
— when he can do nothing against us?" ^ 

Stephens was the ablest, wisest, and most far- 
seeing man of the South. While strongly pro-sla- 
very, he was not blind to the abyss into which so 
many of his fellow-statesmen of his section seemed 
bent upon rushing. He had long foretold the war, 
and could say in 1850, in a letter to his brother: 
"My opinion is that a dismemberment of this Re- 
public is not among the improbabilities of a few 
years to come. In all my acts I shall look to that 
event. I shall do nothing to favor it or hasten it, 
but I now consider it inevitable." ^ The testimony 
of no man respecting the true trend of sentiment 
in the South is more valuable. It indicates that the 
feeling of the mass was not, before the election, 
absolutely disunionist; it was a feeling of general 
ill-will towards the North which came to be played 
upon by the leaders imtil it developed into a catch- 
ing, sympathetic, emotional movement, before which 
reason vanished. A few more men of Stephens's type 
and ability might have turned the tide; but in the 
lower South he stood alone in his class. Having the 
general respect of North and South, his Milledgeville 
speech had wide circulation and effect. Great num- 
bers of approving letters came from the North, and 

^ Stephens, War between the States, II., 279-283. 
2 Johnston and Browne, Stephens^ 244. 


a note was received from Lincoln, dated November 
30, asking for a revised copy. Stephens's reply 
brought three weeks later one of the few letters 
which at this period Lincoln wrote. It was dated 
December 22, and asked, "Do the people of the 
South really entertain fears that a Republican ad- 
ministration would, directly or indirectly, interfere 
with the slaves, or with them about the slaves ? If 
they do, I wish to assure you, as once a friend, and 
still, I hope, not any an enemy, that there is no 
cause for such fears. 

The effect produced in the state by Stephens's 
speech of November 14 "was a general impression 
that it had given the quietus to secession in Geor- 
gia," ^ but Stephens himself was not deceived in 
the trend of affairs. He could write, but two weeks 
later (November 30) : "I am daily becoming more 
and more confirmed in the opinion that all efforts 
to save the Union will be unavailing. The truth is, 
our leaders and public men ... do not desire to 
continue it on any terms. They do not wish any 
redress of wrongs ; they are disunionists per se, and 
avail themselves of present circumstances to press 
their objects"; and December 3: "I fear . . . that 
it is too late to do anything; that the people are 
run mad. They are wild with passion and frenzy, 
doing they know not vv^hat." ^ 

* Lincoln, Works (ed. of 1894), I., 660; Stephens, War between 
the States, IL, 266, 267 (facsimile). 
^Johnston and Browne, Stephens, 367. 
^Ibid., 369, 370. 


How Georgia wavered, how strong was the Union 
sentiment of the state, is told at length by Stephens ; 
the wavering scale ''was turned by a sentiment, the 
key note to which" was uttered by T. R. R. Cobb, 
in a speech before the legislature, November 12: 
"We can make better terms out of the Union than 
in it." An idea upon which two -thirds of those 
who voted for secession acted. ^ 

In Alabama, the conservative forces were over- 
turned through the imfortunate action of the legis- 
lature in January, i860, when an act was passed on 
the heels of the instructions to the delegates to the 
Charleston convention to withdraw in certain con- 
tingencies, requiring the governor, after he should 
have ascertained the election of a '' so-called Repub- 
lican" to the presidency, to call a convention to 
meet within forty days; the act also directed the 
reorganization of the militia and included a vote of 
two himdred thousand dollars for ''military contin- 
gencies." ^ But after the election a strong Union 
sentiment showed itself; "the secessionists were 
anxious, Unionists suddenly cropped out every- 
where." ^ A meeting of prominent secessionists 
"promptly assembled at Montgomery to consider 
the duty of the governor" in regard to the resolu- 
tion of January, and the latter decided that he would 
call the convention two days after the votes had 
been cast in the electoral college, and that it should 

* Stephens, War between the States, II., 321. 

^Du Bose, Yancey, 448. ^ Ibid., 547. 



meet January 7, 1861. Jemison, who had led the 
legislature to pass the resolution requiring the with- 
drawal from the Charleston convention, was now 
**an unconditional Unionist," and the members of 
this party entered the contest with a real recogni- 
tion of its philosophy. They held that "the day of 
small governments had passed. ... If secession suc- 
ceeds the road to success will require the sacrifice of 
slavery: if secession fails, anarchy will follow." ^ 
But Yancey ruled in Alabama by perfervid oratory, 
much as Calhoim, in South Carolina, by logic. His 
answer to co-operationists, at a meeting the evening 
after the presidential election, was: "In the contin- 
gency that consultation shall not produce concert, 
what then ? . . . Shall we remain and all be slaves ? 
Shall we wait to bear our share of the common dis- 
honor? God forbid! Let us act for ourselves. I 
have good reason to believe the action of any state 
will be peaceable, will not be resisted under the 
present or any futujre administration of public affairs. 
I believe that there will not be pov\'er to direct a gun 
against a sovereign state. Certainly there will be 
no will to do so during the present administration." ^ 
The incendiary, he practically said, need fear no 
punishment. It is not strange that appeals to pas- 
sion, with the assurance that no harm could befall, 
should have their effect. 

The feeling between the Unionists and secession- 
ists, when the Alabama convention came together, 
^ Du Bose, Yattcey, 547-549. 2 Jij^d., 539. 

VOL. XIX. — 10 


January 7, was extreme, and Yancey threatened 
coercion against the men of the northern part of the 
state. ^ The prospect of a slave-state convention 
and a basis of settlement with the North was voted 
down, by a majority of 10 in a total of 99. "It is 
touching to read the expressions of regret, of doubt, 
of protest, with which the opposition members gave 
in their adhesion" ^ to the final parting. 

In Mississippi there was yet a strong Union senti- 
ment, but all gave way before the impulse of the 
aggressive action of the leaders. An evidently trust- 
worthy correspondent could say, January 2, 1861: i 
"Our coimtry is dying and the people are doing 
nothing either to accelerate or prevent the death. 
. . . The convention to assemble Monday next will 
present an almost undivided front in favor of 
prompt secession, the people have had but small 
agency in the movement. In many, perhaps in 
most of the counties, but a meagre vote has been 
polled. The people seem stupified, and those who 
move at all move in obedience to the voice of the 
extreme leaders." ^ 

Though "imbounded enthusiasm" was shown at 
a New Orleans meeting over the secession of South 
Carolina, a hundred guns fired and the Pelican flag 
unfurled, an eminent citizen of Louisiana could say, 
"I think ninety-nine out of every hundred of the 

* Smith, Debates of Ala. Convention, 68-74. 
2 Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., 188. 
, ^ National Intelligencer, January 1 2 . 


people sincerely hope that some plan will yet be de- 
vised to heal tip the dissensions." ^ And though a 
militia company could, seize the revenue - cutter 
General Cass, January 13, and the collector of the 
customs arrange, January 18, that the other (the 
McClelland) should be held, the majority for seces- 
sionist candidates in New Orleans was but three 
himdred in a vote of eight thousand, which itself 
was little more than half the entire vote of the 

Most significant of all is the fact that in no 
state of the seven was the question submitted to 
the people except in Texas. Here the convention 
was revolutionary, called as it was by 61 indi- 
viduals, and not by any constituted authority. 
Nearly half the 122 counties held no election, and 
in others an absurdly small minority voted. The 
ordinance of secession w^as passed in the convention 
by 166 to 7, but when submitted to the people 11,- 
235 of the 46,029 votes cast were against it, and 
only about three-fourths of the usual state vote 
was cast.^ 

To endeavor to find and detail the concrete griev- 
ances which moved the South, with the exception 
of northern action in the fugitive -slave law, is now 
a thankless effort. They did not exist; they were 

1 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1861, p. 428. 

2 Richmond Whig, February 5 , quoted by Rhodes, United 
States, III., 274. 

3 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1861, pp. 688, 689. 


the intangible but no less powerful grievances of 
sentiment, which found much sympathy even in the 
North. Franklin Pierce could write, November 23, 
i860, "when you ask me to interpose, then there 
comes this paralyzing fact that if I were in their 
places, after so many years of unrelenting aggres- 
sion, I should probably be doing what they are 
doing.'* ^ The whole was summed in a phrase by 
Jefferson Davis, "I believe that a sectional hos- 
tility has been substituted for a general frater- 
nity." ^ Men in Congress could not look into one 
another's eyes with hate for an indefinite period 
without coming to blows. There were many north- 
ern men who hated slavery and said so. They ac- 
cused the southern members of supporting an ac- 
cursed institution. The whole North, one may say 
the whole world, moved largely by Mrs. Stowe's 
book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, had wept itself into a 
sympathy for the slave which placed the South in 
moral stocks for the jeering of mankind. It was 
not in human nature for the latter, believing as it 
did that it was morally, politically, and economi- 
cally in the right, to submit calmly to such an or- 
deal. It is but a waste of words to seek further; 
the subject may be fitly closed by the remark of 
another distinguished secessionist of the period, 
which equally with that of Jefferson Davis, just 

^ Am. Hist. Rev., X., 365 (the letter was never sent) ; of. The 
" Pine Street " Resolutions, New York, November, i860, in Dix, 
Dix^ I., 359, 360. 2 Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 29. 


quoted, completely covers the field. ''I look upon 
it ... as a war of sentiment and opinion by one 
form of society against another form of society." ^ 
The violence of sentiment and opinion had not yet 
spread from the few to the people; but in the 
South those "few" were the directing forces. 

For throughout the South the movement at first 
was, in the main, one of the politicians and not of 
the people. It was impossible that the general 
mass, densely ignorant, very ill-informed, with no 
direct interest in slavery extension, should be will- 
ing to go to war for a constitutional abstraction. 
Even in South Carolina a newspaper, later a strong 
advocate of secession, could print, June 6, i860, 
a letter signed by ''A Plain Man." "Is there any 
one desiring to remove to any of the territories and 
is afraid to go there, and through fear of losing 
his slaves, asking for protection? No. Is there 
any of the territories where slave property can be 
used advantageously, where we are prohibited by 
Congressional or territorial laws from going? No. 
. . . Then why are the people, as politicians now 
call themselves, now demanding of Congress a slave 
code or 'protection' in the territories? . . . What 
right is even threatened by the General Govern- 
ment, that we of the South have at this time? 
None. Does not [the repeal of the Missouri Com- 
promise] make us better off so far as principle and 

^ Mason, of Virginia, in his speech, December 10, i860, Cong. 
Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 35. 


honor are concerned ? Yes. Then what is all this 
fuss in the democratic party about ? I don't know 
unless there are not offices enough for all. . . . Men 
who don't want office in the South had better look 
closely, or they will soon see sights — now mark 
me." 1 

That the movement soon became a popular one 
is certain, but the extent of the domination of the 
politicians and the wide-spread ignorance of the peo- 
ple, the ease with which the feelings of an ignorant 
and impressionable population can be played upon, 
the willingness of men to have arms put into their 
hands to resent an injury or a supposed injury, the 
ennui of southern life, which caused a craving for 
excitement of any sort, can easily account for the 
readiness of the southern population, the step of 
secession once taken, to enroll itself in the military 
service of their states. It is impossible to think 
that extreme action was forced upon the leaders 
by a wave of popular sentiment; the great vote 
throughout the South for Bell; for the "Constitu- 
tion, the Union and the enforcement of the laws" 
is an explicit denial of such an overpowering senti- 

* Edge-field (S. C.) Advertiser ^ June 6, i860. 


(November-December, i860) 

BUCHANAN was in a large degree the victim of 
vicious intimate surroundings. Only three of 
the cabinet had well-defined Unionist opinions: 
Cass, the secretary of state; Black, the attorney- 
general; and Holt, the postmaster-general. Toucey, 
secretary of the navy, was colorless and without 
weight; Cobb, secretary of the treasury, and Thomp- 
son, secretary of the interior, were thoroughgoing 
secessionists; Floyd, the secretary of war, thought 
secession unwise, but recognized the right of a state 
to secede, and was thoroughly opposed to the use 
of force to restrain such action. His situation and 
views were complicated by very serious malfeasance 
in respect to the war department contracts, which 
did much towards determining his final action.^ And 
that his intent was traitorous is shown by his own 
statement as to the transfer south of large quantities 
of arms in anticipation of the coming conflict,^ and 

^ Curtis, Buchanan, II., 407. 

2 N. Y. Herald, January 17, 1861; cf. Reuben Davis, Recollect 
Hons of Miss., 395. 


in his personal order, December 20, i860, for the 
shipment of one hundred and twenty-one heavy 
guns from Pittsburg to Gulf forts, wholly impre- 
pared to receive them; a shipment only prevent- 
ed by the vigorous protests of Pittsburg citizens to 
the president.^ It is impossible to think of Floyd 
otherwise than as a traitor and a dishonest man. 

An influence of perhaps greater weight than the 
cabinet was W. H. Trescot, of South Carolina, the 
assistant secretary of state and acting secretary 
during General Cass's absence, from Jime to Octo- 
ber, i860. His relations with the president were 
close and of the most friendly character, and he was 
thus able to exercise the insidious and powerful 
influence of a trusted official friend, called in as an 
extra-official adviser. He continued his intimacy 
even after his resignation, which was placed in the 
hands of the president December 10, but which did 
not take effect until December 17, because of an 
interim in the secretaryship of state. On his resig- 
nation he became the agent in Washington of his 
state, and, while intimate with the president, was at 
the same time taking an active and influential part, 
through correspondence, in affairs at Charleston. 
That he should have been able to adjust his action 
to any known code of honor is one of the amazing 
characteristics of the situation, though he was so 
imconscious of dishonor that after his return to 

^ War Records, Serial No. 122, pp. 15, 26-46; cf. Rhodes, United 
States, III., 236W.-241 n. 


South Carolina he put on permanent record his 
impressions of these events. Cobb and Thompson 
were both pronouncedly secessionists ; but only the 
former had a sense of the proprieties of the situation, 
which caused him, December 8, to withdraw from 
the cabinet. Meanwhile, Cass and Black were urgent 
for the immediate reinforcement of the Charleston 
forts. "The subject," says Trescot, ''was one of 
constant discussion. Governor Floyd was earnest 
in his determination and resolved not to re-inforce, 
but he thought if such were his opinions, he ought 
to be trusted by -the State. . . . He argued on one oc- 
casion with great force, ' You tell me that if any 
attempt is made to do what under ordinary circum- 
stances is done every day, you will be unable to 
restrain your people. . . . Am / not bound to enable 
them [these garrisons] to resist an imlawful violation 
which you cannot control ? " ' Trescot makes a re- 
mark thereupon of the deepest significance: "While 
I felt the strength of this reasoning, I knew also that 
in the then condition of feeling in Charleston any- 
thing that could be even misunderstood or misrepre- 
sented as reinforcement would lead to an explosion 
that would injure the whole Southern cause." ^ 

Trescot saw Cobb and explained Floyd's posi- 
tion. Cobb had a conference with Floyd and 
Thompson, and Floyd called at once upon Trescot 
to express his former convictions, but to say also 
that if Trescot thought a collision betw^een the 
^ Crawford, Fort Sumter, 26. 


people of South Carolina and the Federal forces 
would be precipita.ted, he would not consent that a 
man or a gun should be sent to any of the forts in 
the harbor of Charleston; and if his sense of duty- 
induced any change in his determination, Trescot 
should be informed ample time in advance to take 
such course as he deemed proper.^ 

The president, yielding to the pressure from Cass 
and Black, informed Floyd of his determination to 
send reinforcements, but xmder protests from Floyd 
suspended his decision to await the arrival, Decem- 
ber 12, of General Scott from New York, where were 
then his headquarters. It then became important 
to devise means to induce the president to change 
his purpose. Floyd," says Trescot, " declared that 
his mind was made up, that he would cut off his 
right hand before he would sign an order to send 
reinforcements to the Carolina forts, and if the presi- 
dent insisted he would resign." Thompson "agreed 
with him perfectly, and said he would sustain his 
course and follow him." ^ 

The necessity of working upon the president's 
fears of an act of violence by the Charleston populace 
was clear, and Trescot set himself this duty, agree- 
ing to go to the president and state Flo3^d's inten- 
tion, to submit the reasons, and if he should make 
no impression he was to say that it was his own 
duty, however painful, to submit his resignation 
from the department of state and leave for Colum- 
^ Crawford, Fort Sumter, 27. ^ Ibid.^ 28, 29. 


bia next morning, to lay the facts before the execu- 
tive of South Carolina; that *' I would be in Colum- 
bia in thirty-six hours, and upon such information 
there could be no earthly doubt that the forts would 
be occupied in the following twenty-four. ' ' In place 
of this, however, it was finally arranged that Trescot 
should write Governor Gist: "Tell him that the 
President was imder very strong apprehensions that 
the people of Charleston would seize the forts ; that 
in consequence he felt boimd to send re-inforcements. 
That the Southern members of the Cabinet would 
resist this policy to resignation, but that they 
thought that if he [Gist] felt authorized to write a 
letter assuring the President that if no re-inforce- 
ments were sent there would be no attempt upon 
the forts before the meeting of the convention, and 
that then commissioners would be sent to negotiate 
all the points of difference; that their hands would 
be strengthened, the responsibility of provoking col- 
lision woiild be taken from the State, and the Presi- 
dent would probably be relieved from the neces- 
sity of pursuing this policy.'* Trescot accordingly 
wrote to Gist, November 26, adding: "I wish you 
distinctly to understand that there is no possibility 
of such an order being issued without a dissolution 
of the Cabinet and your receiving ample notice. . . . 
I write with the confidence that such an assurance 
will prevent any hasty and indiscreet movement on 
the part of the State.*' * 

* Crawford, Fort Sumter, 29, 30. 


Gist's reply, November 29, i860, was such as 
Trescot expected: "If President Buchanan takes 
a course different from the one indicated, and sends 
reinforcements, the responsibility will rest on him 
of lighting the torch of discord, which will only be 
quenched in blood. I am under a pledge ... to 
use all the military power of the State to prevent 
any increase of troops in these garrisons, . . . and 
hope no necessity will arise to compel me to redeem 
the pledge." ^ The same mail brought Trescot an 
offer to appoint him the confidential agent of the 
South Carolina executive so soon as he should 
resign his Washington office. 

The president had now completed his message, 
and it was decided that a copy should go to Gist 
by the hands of Trescot, who, "in view of the confi- 
dential relations he had held with the President, 
was thoroughly informed upon the subject of the 
President's views, . . . and from the relations he held 
with the authorities in South Carolina could bring 
back to the President a clear and reliable account 
of feeling and opinion in the State." ^ Buchanan 
was assured by Trescot, before leaving, that South 
Carolina would carry out the right of secession 
"regularly, peaceably, as a right, not as a revolu- 
tionary measure ; that I [Trescot] really believed it 
would mortify them to be compelled to resort to 
force." Buchanan's great hope was, by temporiz- 
ing, to avoid an issue before the 4th of March ; but 
* Crawford, Fort Sumter, 31. ' Ibid., 23. 


when Trescot arrived at Charleston, December 5, he 
found that no postponement of the convention to 
March 4 was now possible.^ 

December 8 came a visit from the five Carolina 
members of Congress to reiterate and reimpress 
upon the president the views of the cabal. The 
president requested a written statement, and their 
letter, handed to the president December 10, stated 
the strong convictions of the signers that there 
would be no attack previous to the action of the 
convention, adding what could only be construed as 
a pronounced threat, ''provided that no re-enforce- 
ments shall be sent." The commissioners stated 
later that "The impression made upon us was that 
the President was wavering and had not decided 
what course he would pursue." The president ob- 
jected to the word "provided," and made an in- 
dorsement of his objection upon the original paper 
— "as this might be construed into an agreement 
which I never would make. They said nothing was 
further from their intention. They did not so un- 
derstand it and I should not so consider it." ^ 

Whatever the president's real views, and it was 
clearly not his intention absolutely to bind himself, 
the five South Carolina gentlemen at least satisfied 
themselves that no change was intended. " One of 
the delegation, just before leaving the room, re- 
marked, 'Mr. President, you are determined to let 
things remain as they are, and not to send re-en- 

^ Crawford, Fort Sumter, 34. ^ Curtis, Bmhanan, II., 377. 


f orcements ; but suppose that you were hereafter to 
change your policy for any reason, what then?' . . . 
*Then,' said the president, *I would first rettim you 
this paper.' " ^ 

We have here a full conspiracy : the hesitation of 
Floyd, whose logic was stronger than his principles ; 
the anxiety of Trescot, assistant secretary of state, 
lest the forts should escape final seizure, and the as- 
sumed fear of mob action, though it would plainly 
put his state irretrievably in the wrong; the active 
support of Thompson, secretary of the interior; the 
concoction of the letter of November 26 to Governor 
Gist, of South Carolina, urging action upon the lines 
suggested; the governor's reply, November 29, 
which, of course, was shown Mr. Buchanan, and an 
offer of the same date from the South Carolina gov- 
ernor to Trescot to act as confidential agent of his 
state at Washington; the call of the five members, 
December 8, to impress, as though independent- 
ly, these views upon the president. The plan was 
completely successful, and the passive attitude now 
taken by the president was adhered to imtil he 
had a cabinet which compelled him to a change of 

The immediate result was the resignation of Sec- 
retary Cass, in a letter of December 12, upon the 
ground of the refusal of the president to send rein- 
forcements and a ship of war to aid in the defence 
of the forts. The president, in his reply, saidi 
* War Records, Serial No. i, p. 126. 



"Your remarks upon the subject were heard by 
myself and the cabinet, . . . but they failed to con- 
vince us of the necessity and propriety, under ex- 
isting circtimstances, of adopting such a measure. 
The Secretaries of War and of the Navy, through 
whom the orders must have been issued to reinforce 
the forts, did not conciu* in your views; and whilst 
the whole responsibility for the refusal rested upon 
myself, they were the members of the cabinet more 
directly interested." ^ 

The remark last quoted is a fit index of the flac- 
cid character which found drifting so much more 
comfortable than stemming the tide. Had Mr. Bu- 
chanan at this time refused to listen to the noisy 
clamor of South Carolina regarding the forts; had 
he held firm ; had he shaken off the malign influence 
of Trescot; had he refused to receive the self- 
appointed delegation of South - Carolinians on the 
subject of reinforcements ; had he, in a word, pro- 
ceeded to do his simple duty of retaining the con- 
trol of the property of the Union, the sentiment of 
Stephens and hundreds of thousands in the South 
like him might have been solidified, and matters 
would have had another course. 

The president had appealed, November 17, to his 
attorney-general, Jeremiah Black, of Pennsylvania, 
a strong Unionist and a lawyer and judge of great 
distinction, for an opinion on the following points : 

I. Whether in case of conflict between the au- 
* Curtis, Buchanan, II., 398. 


thorities of a state and those of the United States 
there could be any doubt whether the laws of the 
Federal government are supreme? 2. The presi- 
dent's power to collect duties where the revenue 
laws are resisted by a force which drives the col- 
lector from the custom-house. 3. What right ex- 
isted to defend public property if assaulted? 4. 
What legal means existed for executing United 
States laws usually administered through courts 
and their officers ? 5 . Can a military force be used 
for any purpose whatever imder the acts of 1795 
and 1807, within the limits of a state where there 
are no judges, marshal, or other civil officers ? 

The second and third questions were, for the 
practical purposes of the moment, first in impor- 
tance, and to these Black, November 20, gave re- 
plies which had no uncertainty. In his opinion the 
president could collect the duties anywhere within 
the port of entry, ashore or afloat. ''Your right to 
take such measures as may seem to be necessary 
for the protection of the public property is very 
clear." He went further, saying, ''The right of de- 
fending the public property includes also the right 
of recapture after it has been unlawfully taken by 
another." Whatever exception m.ay be taken to 
the opinions expressed by Black in the latter part 
of his paper, in which he drew a distinction between 
the right of the general government to repel a 
direct and positive aggression upon its property or 
its officers and what he called "an offensive war to 


punish the people for the poHtical misdeeds of their 
State government or to enforce an acknowledgment 
that the Government of the United States is su- 
preme," ^ it is clear that there was force enough in 
the principles just quoted to enable Buchanan to 
act with a vigor equal to that of Jackson and to 
bring to his support every loyal man, North and 
South. He would not only have been within his 
right as president, but it would have been an ac- 
ceptance of one of the soundest of principles — to do 
that which your enemy most wished you should 
not do; but there was on his part no intention of 
action; "not in my time; not in my time," was his 
thought and expression.^ 

The weak, gelatinous state of mind of the presi- 
dent, and of the cabinet as a whole, brings out one 
of the great weaknesses of American government 
procedure — viz., the delay in bringing the newly 
elected authorities to power. Four long months 
were still to pass — the country practically without 
a government in the most serious period of its ex- 
istence. The whole tendency of officialdom on the 
eve of surrendering its power to new authorities is 
to maintain the status quo. It requires an unusual 
initiative, boldness, and decision developed by the 
habit of command to accept the responsibility 
which Jackson took and Taylor was ready to take, 

* Cf . Curtis, Buchanan, II., 319-324. 

^ Speech of Henry Winter Davis, National Intelligencer, Feb- 
ruary 8, 186 1. 

VOL. XIX. — 11 


but which Buchanan declined. The last was a 
lawyer wrapped in the technicalities of his profes- 
sion, with a character developed into the softness 
w^hich comes with continued success, chiefly the re- 
sult of encountering no obstacles; Buchanan was 
pre-eminently the mediocre politician, a being who 
always seeks to work on the lines of least resistance, 
and he was determined to leave the management of 
the terrible storm, of which he should have been 
the controlling force, to his successor. 

His contribution to the issue was a message to 
the expiring Congress, which met in its second ses- 
sion December 3, i860, in which the one firm note 
was a denial of any right of secession, which he de- 
clared was "neither more nor less than revolu- 
tion." All that was necessary to settle the slavery 
question forever was, according to Buchanan, that 
the slave states "be let alone and permitted to 
manage their domestic institutions in their own 
way"; theirs was the responsibility, and the North 
had "no more right to interfere than with similar 
institutions in Russia or in Brazil." The message 
mentions as "a remarkable fact" that no single act 
has "ever passed Congress, unless we may possibly 
except the Missouri Compromise, impairing in the 
slightest degree the rights of the South to their 
property in slaves." The president proceeded to 
declare that the election of any citizen as presi- 
dent could not afford just cause for dissolving the 
Union; affirmed that the South had never been de- 


nied equal rights in the territories, and trusted that 
the state legislatures would repeal their unconsti- 
tutional and obnoxious enactments regarding the 
fugitive-slave law; ''Unless this shall be done w^ith- 
out unnecessary delay, it is impossible for any 
human power to save the Union." Should this be 
refused, he held that the injured states "would be 
justified in revolutionary resistance to the Govern- 
ment of the Union"; he did not believe that any 
attempt would be made to expel the United States 
fromx the Charleston forts by force; ''but if in this 
I should prove to be mistaken, the officer in com- 
mand of the forts has received orders to act strictly 
on the defensive. In such a contingency the re- 
sponsibility for consequences would rightfully rest 
upon the heads of the assailants." 

Much of the remainder of the message was de- 
voted to the question of the power to coerce a seced- 
ing state, holding that none such existed; to an in- 
vitation to the South to pause and deliberate before 
destroying "the grandest temple which has ever 
been dedicated to human freedom" ; and to the sug- 
gestion of an explanatory amendment to the Con- 
stitution with, I, "an express recognition of the 
right of property in slaves in the states where it 
now exists or may hereafter exist " ; 2, "The duty of 
protecting this right in all the common territories 
throughout their territorial existence"; 3, a recog- 
nition of the validity of the fugitive-slave law and 
of the unconstitutionality of state laws impairing 


or defeating the right of the master to have his 

The discussion of the right of secession, to which, 
in its constitutional aspect the president devoted 
a considerable part of the message, was, however 
able and excellent, out of place; it was the states- 
manship of action which was needed, and not 
glosses on the Constitution. It was in his power to 
act upon the theories he had announced — to defend 
the property of the United States and to collect at 
all ports the customs dues. Instead, he drifted into 
a policy of supine inaction, while it was clearly ap- 
parent that custom-houses and forts were at the 
mercy of the first attack. 

However blameworthy the president, he was, in a 
way, the victim of his period; of a slovenly laisser 
aller state of mind in which none but secessionists 
of the Rhett and Yancey type of leadership seemed 
to have definite views of any sort. The whole 
government was in a state of sad flabbiness. There 
w^as but a nucleus of an army; the navy was mori- 
bund ; there was a captain afloat in command nearly 
seventy years of age; the commandant of the Nor- 
folk navy-yard was sixty-eight; the commandant 
at Pensacola, sixty-seven. The general-in-chief of 
the army was seventy-four. There was no settled 
belief or opinion. The New York Tribune, which 
held the position of leadership among Republican 
journals, and which was a power throughout the 
North, was proclaiming that "if the Cotton States 


shall become satisfied that they can do better out of 
the Union than in it, we insist on letting them go 
in peace and, again, that ''Five millions of peo- 
ple, more than half of them of the dominant race, of 
whom at least half a million are able and willing 
to shoulder muskets, can never be subdued while 
fighting around and over their own hearthstones " ^ 
— expressions which had a powerful effect for ill 
throughout the South. 

Nor was Greeley alone in his views; the aboli- 
tionists professing anxiety to accomplish the ex- 
tinction of slavery were arguing that the South 
should be permitted to secede; Governor Moore, of 
Alabama, was hailing them as ''our best friends." 
"Northern and southern bigotry . . . stood in such 
relations of reciprocity that by each the question 
of preserving the government was ignored and 
despised. Each set of extremists played into the 
hands of the other. Though they differed widely 
in some ways, they agreed perfectly in contempt 
for the Union and the Constitution." ^ 

* N. Y. Tribune, November 9, i860 (editorial). 
^ Ibid., November 30 (editorial). 
3 Barnes, Weed, 305. 


(December, i860- January, 1861) 

THE thirty -sixth Congress convened in its sec- 
ond session December 3, i860, and upon it was 
thrown the wet blanket of Mr. Buchanan's mes- 

The reception of the message was followed in the 
House of Representatives by the adoption, Decem- 
ber 4, by a vote of 145 to 38 (the nays all Republi- 
can), of a resolution offered by Boteler, of Virginia, 
for the appointment of a special committee of thirty- 
three, one from each state, to which was referred 
**so much of the President's message as relates 
to the present perilous condition of the coimtry." * 
As Boteler declined being chairman, Corwin, of Ohio, 
was appointed. 

December 6, Powell, of Kentucky, moved in the 
Senate the appointment of a special committee of 
thirteen, to which should be referred that part of 
the message relating to * ' the agitated and distracted 
condition of the country, and the grievances between 
the slave-holding and non- slave-holding states " ; and 

^ Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 6. 


(as modified December 10) "to inqtdre into the 
present condition of the coimtry and report." ^ 

Resolution after resolution was offered looking to 
propitiation of the South, though it was very evi- 
dent that no concession whatever was desired by 
many southern members. Senator Clingman, of 
North Carolina, the very day of meeting, December 
3, said: ''It is not . . . merely that a dangerous 
man has been elected. . . . We know that under 
our complicated system that might very well occur 
by accident and he be powerless; but I assert that 
the President elect has been elected because he was 
known to he a dangerous man. He avows the prin- 
ciple that is known as the ' irrepressible conflict. ' 
He declares that it is the purpose of the North to 
make war upon my section imtil its social system 
has been destroyed and for that he was taken up 
and elected. That declaration of war is dangerous, 
because it has been endorsed by a majority of the 
votes of the free states in the late election. It is 
this great, remarkable, and dangerous fact that has 
filled my section with alarm and dread for the 
future." ^ That this assertion of a sudden crisis, of 
a danger for the first time encountered, was only a 
pretext played upon by those in the lead of the 
secession movement is clear from some of the 
declarations made in the South Carolina convention. 
Said Parker there: ''It is no spasmodic effort; . . . 
it has been gradually culminating for a long pe- 

' Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 28. ^Ibid., 3. 


riod of thirty years." Barnwell Rhett asserted that 
"The secession of South Carolina is not the event 
of a day. It is not an3rthing produced by Mr. 
Lincoln's election or by the non-execution of the 
fugitive slave law. It is a matter which has been 
gathering head for thirty years." 

There could be no mistake about the intention of 
southern leaders. Both South Carolina senators' 
resigned November 9; and Iverson, of Georgia, 
the third day of the session, did not hesitate to 
announce the southern programme: ''Before the 
4th of March — ^before you inaugurate your Presi- 
dent — there will be certainly five states, if not 
eight of them, that will be out of the Union, and 
have formed a constitution and frame of govern- 
ment for themselves. . . . You talk about repeal- 
ing the personal liberty bills as a concession to 
the South. Repeal them all to-morrow, sir, and it 
would not stop the progress of this revolution. It 
is not your personal liberty bills that we dread ; . . . 
if all the liberty bills were repealed to-day, the 
South would no more gain her fugitive slaves than 
if they were in existence. . . . Nor do we suppose 
there will be any overt act upon the part of Mr. 
Lincoln. ... I do not propose to wait for them. . . . 
We intend, Mr. President, to go out peaceably if 
we can, forcibly if we must, but I do not believe, 
with the Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. Hale], 
that there is going to be any war. ' ' ^ 

* Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 11. 


Such expressions were emphasized, December 14, 
by an address prepared at the rooms of Reuben 
Davis, a member from Mississippi,^ and signed by 
twenty-three representatives and seven senators, one 
of whom was Jefferson Davis, saying: **The argu- 
ment is exhausted. ... In our judgment the Repub- 
licans are resolute in the purpose to grant nothing 
that will or ought to satisfy the South. We are 
satisfied the honor, safety, and independence of 
the Southern people require the organization of a 
Southern Confederacy — a result to be obtained only 
by separate State secession." ^ This action was the 
outcome of the solid adverse Republican vote, De- 
cember 13, in the committee of thirty-three, on a 
resolution offered by Dimn, a Republican member 
from Indiana, that whether southern "discontent 
and hostility are without just cause or not, any 
reasonable, proper and constitutional remedies and 
additional and more specific and effectual guarantees 
of their peculiar rights and interests as recognized 
by the Constitution necessary to preserve the peace 
of the country and the perpetuation of the Union, 
should be promptly and cheerfully granted." ^ 

Senator Wade, of Ohio, December 17, spoke the 
mind of the Republican leaders, saying: **I tell you 
that in that platform we did lay it down that we 

^ Reuben Davis, Recollections of Miss., 39^. 
2 Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, II., 436. 
^ Journal of the Committee {House Exec. Docs., 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 
No. 31), p. 7. 


would, if we had the power, prohibit slavery from an- 
other inch of free territory under this government. I 
stand on that position to-day ; ... on the other hand | 
our authoritative platform repudiates the idea that | 
we have any right or any intention ever to invade | 
your peculiar institutions in your own States. ... I 
We hold to no doctrine that can possibly work you 
an inconvenience. We have been faithful to the 
execution of all the laws. ... It is not, then, that j 
Mr. Lincoln is expected to do any overt act by I 
which you may be injured; you will not wait for ' 
any; but anticipating that the Government may 
work an injury, you say you will put an end to it, 
which means simply, that you intend either to rule 
or ruin this Government." ^ Viewed in the light of | 
to-day, this most vigorous and most aggressive op- 
ponent of the slave power in the Senate spoke the 
exact truth. 

December 18, after nearly two weeks desultory 
debate, the Senate adopted the Powell resolution, 
referring to it the same day the so-called Critten- 
den compromise, as a basis of an understanding 
which should obtain the hearing of Congress and of 
the country. The first six articles, in effect as fol- 
lows, were proposed as constitutional amendments: 
I. In all territory now held or to be acquired 
north of 36° 30' slavery should be prohibited 
while under territorial government. South of said 
line slavery should be recognized to exist, and be 

* Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 102. 




i protected as property by the territorial govern- 
ment. In either case the territory, when made a 
state, to enter with or without slavery, as the state 
constitution should prescribe. (This article was in- 
definite as to additional territory which might be 

I acquired south of 36° 30'.) 2. Congress to have no 
power to abolish slavery in places under its juris- 
diction situated within the limits of a slave state. 

3. Congress to have no power to abolish slavery in 
the District of Coliunbia so long as it should exist 
in Maryland or Virginia ; nor without the consent of 

1 the inhabitants, nor without just compensation to 
those who do not consent; members of Congress 
and officers of the government to be free to bring 
their slaves into the district during official residence. 

4. The domestic slave-trade not to be interfered 
with. 5. The United States to pay the ov/ner the 
full value of a fugitive slave when arrest should be 
prevented by force or rescue made. 6. No future 
amendment to affect the first five articles or the 
present paragraphs of the Constitution affecting 
slavery, and no amendment should be made giving 
Congress power to interfere with slavery in any of 
the states. 

Four resolutions were also to be passed jointly 
by the Senate and House: i. That the slave-hold- 
ing states are entitled to the faithful observance 
and execution of an efficient fugitive - slave law. 
2. That Congress recommend to the states con- 
cerned the repeal of laws in conflict with the fugi- 



tive-slave laws. 3. That the fee of the commissioner 
mentioned in the fugitive-slave act be the same, 
whether the decision be in favor of or against the 
claimant, and that the authority to summon the 
posse comitatus by the person holding the warrant 
be limited. 4. That the laws for the suppression 
of the African slave-trade be made effectual.^ 

The committee, named December 20, was one of 
eminent ability and character, including Crittenden, 
Seward, Toombs, Douglas, Jefferson Davis, and Wade. 
It met December 2 1 , the day of the reception of the 
news of South Carolina's secession. On the insist- 
ence of Davis that nothing else would answer, it 
was understood that a majority of the Republican 
senators and a majority of the other eight should 
be necessary to the adoption of any report; a 
necessary precaution if it was to meet with any 
success in the Senate. The Republican members 
of the committee voted against all Crittenden's 
amendments to the Constitution, and against his 
first and second resolutions, making any compro- 
mise impossible. Davis and Toombs also voted 
against the first article (for the settlement of the 
slavery question in the territories), but for all the 

Seward's offer of December 24, in the committee, 
which originated with Lincoln and was the extreme 
of compromise to which the latter would go, was 
made the limit of Republican concession: i. That 

* Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 114. 


the Constitution should never be altered so as to 
authorize Congress to abolish or interfere with sla- 
very in the states (to be a constitutional amend- 
ment) ; 2. that the fugitive - slave law should be 
amended to grant a jury trial to the fugitive; 3. 
that the legislatures of the states be requested to 
review all legislation affecting the rights of persons 
recently resident in other states, and to repeal or 
modify such acts as contravene the constitutions or 
laws made in pursuance thereof. Only the first was 
accepted;^ it was clear that the third would not be 
acceptable to the South, as it plainly bore upon the 
question of colored seamen entering southern ports. 
December 3 1 , the committee reported to the Senate 
that it had " not been able to agree upon any general 
plan of adjustment." 

Crittenden's resolution was undeniably popular 
in the North, which was now stirred by the realiza- 
tion of a danger to which it had heretofore given 
but little thought. John A. Dix, of New York, felt 
*'a strong confidence that we could carry three 
fourths of the States in favor of it as an amendment 
to the Constitution." ^ Edward Everett, December 
23, said, ''There is nothing in your resolutions for 
which I would not cheerfully vote, if their adoption 
as amendments of the Constitution would save us 
from disunion, and, what I consider its necessary 

^ Seward to Lincoln, Seward, Seward, II., 484. 

^Letter to Crittenden, December 22, Coleman, Crittenden, 

n.. 237. 


consequence, civil war, anarchy, desolation at home, 
the loss of all respectability and influence abroad, 
and, finally, military despotism." ^ Amos A. Law- 
rence wrote December 29: ''We are all watching 
with interest your patriotic and vigorous efforts for 
pacification. . . . One of the elements which produce 
reaction is disappearing — I mean the scarcity of 
money. There is danger that we may lose another ; 
viz: the imwarlike condition of the public mind. 
The contrast between us and the South in this re- 
spect is most striking. Here, and through the whole 
North and West, nobody has thought of war or of 
arms, not a musket or pistol has been bought or sold 
for any civil strife. Nine out of ten of our people 
would laugh if told that blood must be shed. This 
condition of peace which is conducive to calm 
reasoning and to reaction may, and I fear will, be 
changed suddenly." ^ 

One has but to turn to the scores of petitions from 
men of all parties, praying the adoption of the Crit- 
tenden compromises,^ and to the files of the northern 
press to be convinced that had the question come 
to a popular vote it would have been carried by a 
vast' majority, which felt with Thurlow Weed, in a 
weighty article which appeared in the Albany Even- 
ing Journal so early as November 30, i860. Noth- 
ing was easier, in Mr. Weed's view, than to demon- 
strate the rightfulness of the position of the Repub- 

^ Coleman, Crittenden, II., 238. ^ Ibid., 240, 

^ Ibid., 240-249; Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., passim. 


licans, but the issue unfortunately was not to be 
decided on its merits. ''The election of Mr. Lincoln 
is the pretext for, and not the cause of disunion." 
As the danger, in his belief, could only be averted 
"by such moderation and forbearance as will draw 
out, strengthen, and combine the Union sentiment 
of the whole country," he would like to see a con- 
vention of delegates appointed by the states ''to 
meet, discuss, and determine upon a future." ^ 

Such being the popular sentiment, shown later 
very strongly, why had it not sufficient influence to 
make itself felt among the Republicans in the com- 
mittee of thirteen and in the Senate to cause the 
acceptance of Mr. Crittenden's proposed compro- 
mise ? All the southern members, if the statements 
of Senators Douglas and Pugh, and of Toombs him- 
self are to be taken, would have voted for the article 
respecting territories if it had been supported by 
the Republican members.^ Breckinridge, July 16, 
1 86 1, said upon the floor of the Senate, "I hap- 
pened personally to know . . . that the leading 
statesmen of the lower Southern states were willing 
to accept the terms of settlement which were pre- 
pared ... by my predecessor." Davis's biographer 
says, " Despite its imfairness as a measure of settle- 
ment, and its great injustice to the South, Mr. 

* Greeley, Am. Conflict, I., 360; c£. Barnes, Weed, 306, 307. 

' Toombs, January 7, 1861, Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 270; 
Pugh, March 2, ibid., 1390; Douglas, January 3, March 2, ibid.^ 
1391, App., 41. 


Davis would have accepted it, as would a large ma- 
jority of Southern Senators as a finality if the Re- 
publican Senators had tendered it." ^ 

The difficulty was that the Republican leaders 
were themselves opposed to any compromise and 
the southern leaders really desired none. But a 
few weeks before (December 3), Seward had written 
Weed: "The Republican party to-day is as un- 
compromising as the Secessionists in South Caro- 
lina. A month hence each may come to think that 
moderation is wiser." ^ The majority of the Re- 
publican party came to this latter view, but the 
leaders did not. Wilson, Wade, Grimes, Thaddeus 
Stevens were immovable; and, above all, Lincoln, 
who wrote: "Entertain no proposition for a com- 
promise in regard to the extension of slavery. . . . 
The tug has to come and better now than later." 
He added the important sentence, "You know I 
think the fugitive-slave clause of the Constitution 
ought to be enforced — to put it in its mildest form, 
ought not to be resisted." ^ He was inflexible on 
the territorial question, and thought that "the Mis- 
souri line extended, or Douglas's and Eli Thayer's 
popular sovereignty, would lose us everything we 
gain by the election ; that filibustering for all south 
of us and making slave States of it would follow, 

* Alfriend, Davis, 214. . ^ Barnes, Weed, 308. 

3 To Kellogg, of Illinois, December 1 1 , Lincoln, Works (ed. of 
1894), I., 657; cf. Grimes to his wife, December 5, i860, Salter, 
Grimes, 132. 


in spite of us, in either case." * Greeley's state- 
ment in the Tribune of December 22, i860, was 
definite. "We are enabled to state in the most 
positive terms that Mr. Lincoln is utterly opposed 
to any concession or compromise that shall yield 
one iota of the position occupied by the Republican 
party on the subject of slavery in the territories, 
and that he stands now, as he stood in May last, 
when he accepted the nomination for the presi- 
dency, square upon the Chicago platform." 

The failure of the Senate committee of thirteen 
to agree was followed by Mr. Crittenden's insistent 
and pathetic effort to bring forward in another form 
his plan of compromise. January 3 he asked that 
provision *'be made by law, without delay, for tak- 
ing the sense of the people and submitting to their 
vote" the propositions which were in substance 
those which had been placed before the select com- 
mittee. But neither the extreme northern nor the 
extreme southern leaders favored compromise in 
any form at this time, and the former declared 
their stand in the resolution of Mr. Clark, of New 
Hampshire, pronouncing the provisions of the Con- 
stitution ample for the preservation of the Union. ^ 
In the vote taken January 16, this resolution was 
passed (six southern senators refusing to vote) by 
25 votes to 23, thus killing that of Crittenden.^ 

* Letter to Weed, December 17, i860, Lincoln, Works (ed. of 
1894), I., 660. 

2 Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 379. ^ Ihid., 409. 

VOL. XIX. 12 . 


January 14, 1861, the House committee of thirty- 
three made its report through its chairman, Corwin ; 
there were seven minority reports signed by four- 
teen members ; and as the members from the cotton 
states had withdrawn on the failure to pass a resolu- 
tion declaring it the duty of the government to pro- 
tect slave property, both at sea and on land,^ the 
report was in effect that of a minority. It pro- 
posed resolutions that all attempts of legislatures to 
hinder the recovery of fugitive slaves were in dero- 
gation of the Constitution; that no authority ex- 
isted outside a slave state to interfere with slavery 
in such state; that the justice and propriety of a 
faithful execution of the laws in regard to fugitive 
slaves be recognized; that it was the duty of the 
government to enforce the Federal laws, protect the 
Federal property, and preserv^e the union of the 
states; that each state be requested to revise and 
if necessary amend its statutes to give the citizens 
of other states the same protection as citizens of 
such state enjoy; that each state enact laws to pre- 
vent setting on foot the lawless invasion of any 
state or territory ; and, finally, as a joint resolution, 
that the Constitution be so amended that no sub- 
sequent amendment having for its object inter- 
ference with slavery within the states should origi- 
nate with any but a slave state, or be valid without 
the assent of all the states. This last, offered in 
committee by Charles Francis Adams, was later re- 
^ Reuben Davis, Recollections of Miss., 400. 


nounced by him in a minority report of his own in 
which he arrived at the conclusion "that no form 
of adjustment will be satisfactory to the recusant 
States, which does not incorporate into the Consti- 
tution of the United States a recognition of the 
obligation to protect and extend slavery." * The 
report also offered draughts of an act for the imme- 
diate admission of New Mexico, which then included 
Arizona, as a state, with the slave code already 
adopted by the legislature; and also an amended 
fugitive-slave law, providing that the alleged fugi- 
tive be tried in the state from which he was ac- 
cused of fleeing, and that all offences against slave 
property be tried where committed. 

The resolutions were adopted in the House by a 
majority of 136 to 53, Charles Francis Adams again 
changing his mind and voting affirmatively,^ but 
Corwin substituted for the proposed constitutional 
amendment one declaring that "no amendment 
shall be made . . . which authorize or give to 
Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within 
any State, with the domestic institutions there- 
of, including that of persons held to labor or ser- 
vice by the laws of said State." This passed the 
House, February 28, by a vote of 133 to 65,^ and 
the Senate, March 2, by a vote of 24 to .12.^ It 
was the sole compromise of the session; was un- 

' Report of Select Committee of Thirty-three. 

^ Cong. Globe y 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 1263. 

^ Ibid., 1285. ^Ibid.y 1403. 


necessarily signed by Buchanan; and was accepted 
by Lincoln himself in his inaugural; but in the up- 
heaval to come received no attention from the 

Corwin wrote Lincoln, January i6: ''If the States 
are no more harmonious in their feelings and opin- 
ions than these thirty-three representative men^ 
then, appalling as the idea is, we must dissolve and 
a long and bloody civil war must follow. I cannot 
comprehend the madness of the times. Southern 
men are theoretically crazy. Extreme Northern 
men are practical fools. The latter are really quite 
as mad as the former. Treason is in the air aroimd 
us everywhere. It goes by the name of patriot- 
ism." 2 

How strong the feeling in Congress against com- 
promise had now become is well expressed by 
Senator Grimes in a letter, January 28, 1861, to 
Governor Kirkwood, of Iowa: "Let no man in 
Iowa imagine for a moment tha^ the Crittenden 
proposition is for a mere restoration of the Com- 
promise line of 1820. It is simply and truly the 
application of the Breckinridge platform to all terri- 
tory now acquired, or hereafter to he acquired south 
of 36° 30', and would result, if adopted, in the ac- 
quisition and admission of new slave States for the 
ostensible purpose of restoring what is called the 
equilibrium of the section. . . . There are other pro- 

^ Cf. Blaine, Twenty Years of Congress, I., chap. xii. 
^ Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., 218. 


visions in the Crittenden resolutions which to my 
mind are wholly inadmissible, but let them pass. 
My objection is to any compromise. I will never 
consent to compromises . . . imder threats of break- 
ing up the Government." ^ 

If we attempt to measure the right or wrong of 
the Republican refusal we must recognize that the 
very existence of the Republican party was based 
upon its opposition to slavery extension or to giving 
it a firmer constitutional basis. It could not yield 
this principle without party stultification. Whether, 
had they yielded and the compromise been adopt- 
ed, the situation of the country would have been 
alleviated, is a subject for limitless thought and ar- 
gument, with futility as an end. 

One of Lincoln's objections, the fear of extension 
of territory to the south, was, despite the southern 
attitude on the question, a groimdless one. The 
North by this time- was firmly set against such 
movement, and Cuba could only have been ours by 
a war in which the North, at that period, would 
certainly not have allowed the coimtry to engage. 
The possibility of extension of slavery into the vast 
western region, despite the onflow of free migration 
and despite climate and physical conditions, has 
already been considered. We must, however, be- 
lieve that had Mr. Lincoln and the other prominent 
Republican leaders been willing to yield so much, 
secession would not have gone beyond South CaroHna. 

^ Salter, Grhnes, 134. 


But South Carolina was already out of the 
Union. How, in such circumstances, should she be 
recalled? It is, of course, not unfair to suppose 
that, unsupported in her withdrawal by any of the 
southern states, she would not have resisted the re- 
inforcement of Sumter and thereby engaged against 
her the North, with the South neutralized to a 
great extent at least. But the old friction would 
have remained, accentuated by what had already 
occurred; the situation of slavery would not have 
been bettered; the slaves themselves would have 
been aroused to greater efforts to freedom by the 
abolitionists, who would have redoubled their efforts 
through a reaction which must have followed the 
northern concessions. The whole country by this 
time was aroused to the subject, and the chief ele- 
ment in the bitterness of the South, the feeling of 
isolation, of standing apart, a mark for the world 
to point at, would have grown greater. The only 
hope of saving the institution, acceptation of its 
existing geographical limits, and a not too rigid 
claim of recovery of fugitives — in one word, quietude 
— was impossible in the state of the southern mind. 
It was a question of world psychology. Civilized 
mankind elsewhere had gradually come to that 
point of moral development which made the fur- 
ther existence of slavery impossible. To have 
made the compromise finally acceptable, the South 
had to look forward to yielding slavery by degrees, 
or the North to its permanent acceptance. The 


latter, driven by the world impulse towards free- 
dom, could not accede to this; the former was 
equally driven by the lash of its own conditions to 
stand firm. 

Millson, a member of Congress from Virginia, ex- 
pressed the only true view of the bone of contention 
when he said, January 21, 1861: ''This territorial 
question has been settled. The battle has been 
fought and it has been won by both parties ; it has 
been lost by both parties. . . . You cannot [by the 
interpretation of the Constitution by the supreme 
court] . . . prohibit slavery in a Territory . . . but . . . 
there is not the least probability that slavery will 
ever be carried into any one of them. Thus, in all 
that respects practical results, you have gained the 
battle, and we have lost it. You have lost the 
principle; we the substance. You have gained the 
substance; we the principle." ^ Such views ap- 
parently had weight in the acts organizing the terri- 
tories of Colorado, Dakota, and Nevada. These 
were passed by a Republican majority in both 
houses, with no reference to the prohibition of 
slavery, thus vindicating Webster, and practically 
stamping the fierce agitation of the previous twelve 
years as a stultification.^ 

^ Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., App., 77. 

2 Of. Blaine, Twenty Years of Congress, I., 270, 271. 



(October 29, i86o-December 20, i860) 

ENERAL SCOTT, with his memories of 1832, 

hanging over the country, and, October 29, i860, 
he wrote from New York, where he had his head- 
quarters, a letter of great length to the president, 
which in pompous phrases, conceding the right of 
secession, and embodying some absurd ideas, such 
as allowing the fragments of the great republic to 
form themselves into new confederacies, probably 
four," as a smaller evil than war, gave it as his 
" solemn conviction" that there was, from his knowl- 
edge of the southern population, " some danger of an 
early act of rashness preliminary to secession, viz: 
the seizure of some or all of the following posts: 
Forts Jackson and St. Philip on the Mississippi; 
Morgan below Mobile, all without garrisons; Pick- 
ens, McKee at Pensacola, with an insufficient garri- 
son for one; Pulaski, below Savannah, without a 
garrison; Moultrie and Sumter, Charleston harbor, 
the former with an insufficient garrison, the latter 

appreciated the danger 


without any; and Fort Monroe, Hampton Roads, 
with an insufficient garrison." 

He gave it as his opinion that "all these works 
should be immediately so garrisoned as to make 
any attempt to take any one of them by surprise 
or coup de main, ridiculous." He did not state the 
ntmiber of men needed, but in a supplementary 
paper the next day (October 30) said, "There is 
one (regular) company in Boston, one here (at the 
Narrows), one at Pittsburg, one at Baton Rouge — 
in all five companies only within reach." ^ These five 
companies, about two hundred and fifty men, were 
of course absurdly inadequate to garrison nine such 
posts, but had there been a determination in the 
president's mind to prevent seizures, enough men 
' could have been brought together to hold the more 
important points. 

For Scott's statement as to the number available 
was grossly inaccurate, and but serves to show the 
parlous state of a war department in which the 
general-in-chief can either be so misinformed or al- 
low himself to remain in ignorance of vital facts. , 
There were but five points in the farther South of 
primal importance: the Mississippi, Mobile, Pensa- 
cola, Savannah, and Charleston; two hundred men 
at each would have been ample to hold the posi- 
tions for the time being, and, being held, reinforce- 
ment in any degree would later have been easy. 

* Buchanan, Administration on Eve of Rebellion, chap. v. ; Na- 
tional Intelligencer, January 18, 1861, 



There was a total of 1048 officers and men at the 
northern posts/ including Leavenworth, Mackinac, 
Plattsburg, Boston, New York, and Fort Monroe, 
who could have been drawn upon. There were al- 
ready 250 men at Charleston, Key West, Pensacola, 
and Baton Rouge. It is safe to sa}^ that a thou- 
sand men were available. There were also some 
eight hundred marines at the navy-yards and bar- 
racks ^ who could have been used in such an emer- 
gency. The aggregate of the army, June 30, i860, 
was 16,006, of which 14,926 were enlisted men; and 
it was in the power of the president to increase this 
total aggregate to 18,626.^ Recruiting w^as, in fact, 
actively going on; almost every man at the posts 
mentioned could even much after the date of 
Scott's paper have been safely withdrawn for the 
object mentioned and quickly replaced. 

Scott's inaccurate report gave Buchanan addi- 
tional reason for the inaction which was his basic 
thought. He says, in his apologia that "to have 
attempted to distribute these five companies in the 
eight forts of the cotton States and Fortress Monroe 
in Virginia, would have been a confession of weak- 
ness. ... It could have had no effect in preventing 
secession, but must have done much to provoke it." ^ 
The first part of this statement would have been true 

* Secretary of war, Report, i860, Senate Exec. Docs., 36 Cong. 2 
Sess., No. I, pp. 214, 216. 

2 Secretary of navy, Report, i860, ihid., 383. 
^ Secretary of war, Report, i860, ibid., 209, 213. 
Buchanan, Administration on Eve of Rebellion, 104. 


had these five companies been the only force availa- 
ble; the second, on the supposition that the presi- 
dent meant that any attempt with a force reasonably 
large would have provoked secession, was a short- 
sighted view. To garrison the forts could not have 
been more obnoxious than to put them in a state 
of defence. At any time before the secession of 
a state they could have been garrisoned without 
bringing on actual conflict. The statesmen of the 
South were well aware that an attack upon an 
armed force of the United States, before secession, 
must place them irretrievably in the wrong. South 
Carolina did not secede until December 20. To re- 
sist the sending of troops before this date to any 
of these forts would have been unqualified treason, 
and for this no one in the South was prepared. The 
safety of the secession movement, the extension of 
sympathy throughout the South, rested very greatly 
upon strict compliance with the forms of law and 
with the theories of the Constitution held by that 
section. At least one ardent secessionist, Judge 
Longstreet, recognized this when he appealed to 
South-Carolinians to refrain from any act of war, 
''let the first shot," he said, ''come from the enemy. 
Burn that precept into your hearts.'^ ^ It was impos- 
sible that the southern leaders should place them- 
selves, or allow their people to place them, in the 
attitude of waging w^ar against the Union, while 
even in their own view, their states still remained 
* National Intelligemer, January 11, 1861. 


within it. There was, too, still a very large Union 
sentiment in the South, though finally swept into 
the vortex by the principle of going with the state, 
which would not have been averse to a determined 
action on the part of the president and might have 
upheld it, as in 1833. Such vigor would have given 
this sentiment a working basis, through the evi- 
dence that the Federal authority was to be upheld ; 
and it would have caused a pause even in the least 
thoughtful of the secessionists had they felt that 
their coast strongholds were to be held and all 
their ports to be in the hands of the enemy. In 
the dearth of manufactures in the South, the hold- 
ing of their ports was an essential to southern 
military success. Their closure by blockade was 
equally an essential to the success of the North. 
The strategy of the situation was of the clearest 
and most palpable; and with their coast forts in 
Union hands, warlike action on the part of the 
South is not conceivable. One can thus under- 
stand the importance of spreading the reiterated 
statements of ''intense excitement" and "danger 
of attack," in the event of reinforcement; state- 
ments which, in the circumstances, must be re- 
garded, if the phrase may be used, in the nature of 
a gigantic and successful "bluff." 

Many people have thought that the awakening 
of the North to a willingness for vigorous action had 
to be gradual, and that the long delay was there- 
fore necessary to unify Union sentiment. This is 



a moot question. But in any case it is not given 
to the human mind to follow with certainty every 
ramification of events under hypothetical condi- 
tions ; and the subject must be dealt with from the 
point of view that every emergency should be met 
as it arises. There was too much weighing of the 
political effect of every step taken; the plain path 
of duty should have been taken and held to, and 
supposititious political effects left to take care of 

Moreover, on this question the president ignored 
the psychological power of unchecked action; feel- 
ings and prepossessions gravitate to the centre of 
energy; the acquiescence of the authorities in re- 
gard to the southern garrisons was thus an im- 
mense element in urging the South to a movement 
which gathered in weight and sympathy under de- 
clamatory appeals to arise and assert its manhood. 

The military property of the United States at 
Charleston consisted of the armory, covering a few 
acres, where were stored twenty-two thousand mus- 
kets and a considerable number of old, heavy guns, 
and of three forts named for South-Carolinians of 
Union -wide fame. The smallest of these. Castle 
Pinckney, was a round, brick structure, in excellent 
condition, on a small island directly east of the 
town and distant from the wharves but half a mile. 
It completely commanded the town, and had a for- 
midable armament of four forty-two-pounders, four- 
teen twenty-four-pounders, and four eight-inch sea- 


coast howitzers. The powder of the arsenal was 
here stored. The only garrison was an ordnance 
sergeant, who, with his family, looked after the 
harbor light which was in the fort. 

Almost due east again, and three miles distant, 
was Fort Moultrie, on the south end of Sullivan's 
Island, a low sand spit forming the north side of the 
harbor entrance. The work had an area of one and 
a half acres, and mounted fifty-five guns in barbette. 
The drifting sands had piled themselves even with 
the parapet, and the work was in such condition as 
to be indefensible against a land attack. The whole 
was but of a piece with the long-continued neglect 
arising from many years of peace and the optimistic 
temperament of a people who never believe that 
war can occur until it is upon them; it was the 
natural outcome of the almost entire absence of 
governmental system and forethought of the time. 
The fort was garrisoned by two companies, com- 
prising sixty-four enlisted men and eight officers, 
of the first regiment of artillery ; the surgeon, band, 
a hospital steward, and an ordnance sergeant 
brought the total to eighty-four. 

x\lmost south of Moultrie was Cummings Point, 
on Morris Island, forming the southern side of the 
harbor entrance. Nearly midway between this 
point and Moultrie, but a half-mile within the line 
joining them, and distant three and a half miles 
from the nearest part of the city, was Fort Sumter, 
begun in 1829, and after thirty-one years not yet 


fmished. Built on a shoal covered at most stages 
of the tide, it rose directly out of the water, with 
two tiers of casemates, and surmotmted by a third 
tier of gims in barbette. In plan it was very like the 
transverse section of the ordinary American house, 
the apex of the two sides representing the lines of 
the roof, looking towards Moultrie.- It was intend- 
ed for a garrison of 650 men and an armament of 
146 guns, of which 78 were on hand. 

On a report made in July by Captain J. G. Foster, 
repairs on Moultrie were begun September 14, and 
next day upon Sumter, some two hundred and fifty 
men being emplo3^ed. The sand about the walls of 
Moultrie was removed, a wet ditch dug, a glacis 
formed, the guard-house pierced with loop-holes, 
and the four field-guns placed in position for flank 

At the end of October, Captain Foster, foreseeing 
events, requested the issue of arms to the workmen 
to protect property, and the secretary of war ap- 
proved the issue of forty muskets, if it should meet 
the concurrence of the commanding officer. Colonel 
Gardner, in reply, November 5, doubted the expe- 
diency, as most of the laborers were foreigners, 
indifferent to which side they took, and wisely 
advised, instead, filling up "at once " the two com- 
panies at I\Ioultrie with recruits and sending two 
companies from Fort Monroe to the two other forts. ^ 
The requisition w^as thus held in abeyance, and the 
^ War Records, Serial No. i, p. 68, 


muskets remained at the arsenal. When, only two 
days later, Gardner, urged by the repeated solicita- 
tions of his officers, directed the transfer of mus- 
ket ammunition to Moultrie, the loading of the 
schooner was objected to by the owner of the 
wharf, and the military store-keeper, under appar- 
ently very inadequate pressure, returned the stores 
to the arsenal. A permit, given by the mayor of 
Charleston next day, for the removal was very 
properly declined by Gardner, on the ground that 
the city authorities could not control his actions.* 

The affair, however, cost Gardner his command, 
by a process described by the assistant secretary of 
state, Trescot: I received a telegram from Charles- 
ton, saying that intense excitement prevailed . . . 
and that if the removal was by orders of the Depart- 
ment of War, it ought to be revoked, otherwise 
collision was inevitable. Knowing the Cabinet were 
then in session I went over to the White House. 
... I took Governor Floyd aside, and he was joined, 
I think, by Messrs. Cobb and Toucey, and showed 
them the telegram. Governor Floyd replied 'Tele- 
graph back at once; say that you have seen me, 
that no such orders have been issued, and none such 
will be issued, under any circumstances.'" Floyd, 
a day or so later, gave Trescot "his impressions of 
the folly of Colonel Gardner's conduct, and his final 
determination to remove him and supply his place 
with Major Robert Anderson, in whose discretion, 
* War Records, Serial No. i, p. 69 ; Crawford, Fort Sumter, 57, 58. 


coolness and judgment he put great confidence. 
He also determined to send Colonel Ben. Huger to 
take charge of the arsenal, believing that his high 
reputation, his close association with many of the 
most influential people in Charleston, and the fact 
of his being a Carolinian, would satisfy the state of 
the intention of the Government."* 

That Floyd himself was in an uncertain state of 
mind is shown by his willingness to begin and con- 
tinue the work upon the forts ; that his mental state 
did not permit logical action is clear from his temper 
and attitude regarding the transfer of musket am- 
munition November 7, though but the week before 
(October 31) he had authorized the transfer of the 
muskets themselves. 

Major Fitz-John Porter, of the adjutant-general's 
office, later the able and ill-treated general, was sent 
to Charleston to inspect the conditions. His re- 
port, made November 11, revealed the military in- 
efficiency almost inseparable from a post so neg- 
lected and ill-manned, and subject to the lazy 
peace conditions of the period. He said : * ' The un- 
guarded state of the fort invites attack, if such de- 
sign exists, and much discretion and prudence are 
required on the part of the commander to restore 
the proper security without exciting a community 
prompt to misconstrue actions of authority. I 
think this can be effected by a proper commander 
without checking in the slightest the progress of 
* Trescot MS., quoted by Crawford, Fort Sumter, 58, 59. 

VOL. XIX. — 13 


the engineer in completing the works of defense." 
Major Porter continues with a most significant 
phrase, ''All could have been easily arranged a few 
weeks since, when the danger was foreseen by the 
present commander." ^ 

November 15, Anderson was ordered to the com- 
mand. A Kentuckian by birth, his wife a Georgian, 
his views in sympathy with those of General Scott, 
he appeared to be and, as results proved, was in 
many respects particularly fitted for the post; by 
November 23 he was able to report that in two 
weeks the outer defences of Moultrie would be fin- 
ished and the guns mounted, and that Sumter was 
ready for the comfortable accommodation of one 
company, and, indeed, for the temporary reception of 
its proper garrison. "This," he said, "is the key 
to the entrance to this harbor; its guns command 
this work [Moultrie] and could drive out its occu- 
pants. It should be garrisoned at once. ... So im- 
portant do I consider the holding of Castle Pinckney 
by the Government that I recommend, if the troops 
asked for cannot be sent at once, that I be author- 
ized to place an engineer detachment [of an officer 
and thirty workmen] ... to make the repairs needed 
there. ... If my force was not so very small I 
would not hesitate to send a detachment at once to 
garrison that work. Fort Sumter and Castle Pinck- 
ney must be garrisoned immediately if the Govern- 
ment determines to keep command of this harbor." 
* War Records, Serial No. i, p. 70. 


Anderson proceeded to give advice which sane 
judgment and every sentiment of national honor 
demanded. After mentioning his anxiety to avoid 
collision with the citizens of South Carolina, he 
said: "Nothing, however, will be better calculated 
to prevent bloodshed than our being found in such 
an attitude that it would be madness and folly to 
attack us. There is not so much feverish excite- 
ment as there was last week, but that there is a 
settled determination to leave the Union, and ob- 
tain possession of this work, is apparent to all. . . . 
The clouds are threatening, and the storm may 
break upon us at any moment. I do, then, most 
earnestly entreat that a re-enforcement be immedi- 
ately sent to this garrison, and that at least two 
companies be sent at the same time to Fort Sumter 
and Castle Pinckney." Anderson also stated his 
belief that as soon as the people of South Carolina 
learned that he had demanded reinforcements they 
would occupy Pinckney and attack Moultrie; and 
therefore it was vitally important to embark the 
troops in war steamers and designate them for 
other duty as a blind. ^ Captain Foster, Novem- 
ber 24, reported the whole of the barbette tier of 
Sumter ready for its armament and as presenting 
an excellent appearance of preparation and strength 
equal to seventy per cent, of its efficiency when 
finished.^ He said, November 30, ''I think more 
troops should have been sent here to guard the 

^ War Records, Serial No. i, pp. 74, 75. ^ Ibid., 76. 


forts and I believe that no serious demonstration 
on the part of the populace would have met such 
a course." ^ 

The work on the forts was, of course, well known 
to the people of Charleston, and that at Moultrie, at 
least, subject to daily inspection by many visitors. 
There was still no restriction ''upon any inter- 
course with Charleston, many of whose citizens 
were temporary residents of Sullivan's Island. 
The activity about the fort drew to it a large num- 
ber of visitors daily, and the position of the garri- 
son and the probable action of the state in regard 
to the forts were constant subjects of discussion. 
There was as yet no unfriendly feeling manifested, 
and the social intercourse between the garrison and 
their friends in Charleston was uninterrupted. But 
as the days went on the feeling assumed a more 
definite shape, and found expression in many ways. 
... It was openly announced both to the com- 
manding officer and to his officers, that as soon as 
the state seceded a demand for the delivery of the 
forts would be made, and if resisted, they would be 
taken. . . . Meantime, all of the able-bodied men in 
Charleston were enrolled, military companies were 
formed ever3rwhere, and drilling went on by night 
and day, and with the impression among them that 
they were to attack Fort Moultrie." ^ November 
28 and December i, Anderson again pressed for 

^ War Records, Serial No. i, p. 80. 
^ Crawford, Fort Sumter, 64. 



troops or for ships of war in the harbor;* but his 
last request was anticipated in a letter of the same 
date, when he was informed by the war department, 
''from information thought to be reliable, that an 
attack will not be made on your command, and the 
Secretary has only to refer to his conversation with 
you and to caution you that should his convictions 
unhappily prove untrue, your actions must be such 
as to be free from the charge of initiating a col- 
lision. If attacked, you are of course expected to 
defend the trust committed to you to the best of 
your ability." ^ 

A demand being made by the adjutant of a South 
Carolina regiment on the engineer officer at Moultrie 
for a list of his workmen, *'as it was desired to 
enroll the men upon them for military duty," ^ An- 
derson asked for instructions. The war department 
replied, December 14, ''If the state authorities de- 
mand any of Captain Foster's workmen on the 
ground of their being enrolled into the service of 
the State . . . you will, after fully satisfying yourself 
that the men are subject to enrollment, and have 
been properly enrolled, . . . cause them to be deliv- 
ered up or suffer them to depart." Banality could 
go no further, and Anderson, December 18, informed 
the department that as he understood it, "the 
South Carolina authorities sought to enroll as a part 
of their army intended to act against the forces 

^ War Records, Serial No. i, pp. 79-82. ^ Ibid., p. 82. 

^ Crawford, Fort Sumter, 67. 


of the United States, men who are employed by 
and in the pay of that Government, and could not, 
as I conceived, be enrolled by South Carolina * un- 
der the laws of the United States and of the State 
of South Carolina.' " No answer was vouchsafed to 
this, and the request was not complied with. 

Anderson's repeated statements of the necessity 
of the occupancy of Sumter, without which his own 
position was untenable, led to the despatch of 
Major Buell, a Kentuckian, and later a major-gen- 
eral of United States volunteers, with verbal in- 
structions which, however, on Buell's own motion, 
and with the thought that Anderson should have 
written evidence, were reduced, December 11, to 
writing. This memorandum is of such importance 
that it must be given in full. 

"You are aware of the great anxiety of the Sec- 
retary of War that a collision of the troops with 
the people of this State shall be avoided, and of 
his studied determination to pursue a course with 
reference to the military force and forts in this har- 
bor which shall guard against such a collision. He 
has therefore carefully abstained from increasing 
the force at this point, or taking any measures 
which might add to the present excited state of the 
public mind, or which would throw any doubt on 
the confidence -he feels that South Carolina will not 
attempt, by violence, to obtain possession of the 
public works or interfere with their occupancy. 
But as the counsels and acts of rash and impulsive 


persons may possibly disappoint those expectations 
of the Government, he deems it proper that you 
should be prepared with instructions to meet so un- 
happy a contingency. He has therefore directed 
me verbally to give you such instructions. You 
are carefully to avoid every act which would need- 
lessly tend to provoke aggression; and for that rea- 
son you are not without evident and imminent 
necessity to take up any position which could be 
construed into the assumption of a hostile attitude. 
But you are to hold possession of the forts in this 
harbor, and if attacked you are to defend yourself 
to the last extremity. The smallness of your force 
will not permit you, perhaps, to occupy more than 
one of the three forts, but an attack on, or attempt 
to take possession of any one of them will be re- 
garded as an act of hostility, and you may then put 
your command into either of them, which you may 
deem most proper to increase its power of resist- 
ance. You are also authorized to take similar steps 
w^henever you have tangible evidence of a design to 
proceed to a hostile act." ^ 

These instructions did not come to the presi- 
dent's knowledge until December 21, though a de- 
spatch from Washington, December 13, published 
in the Charleston Courier, announced Major Buell's 
visit; when made known to the president, he di- 
rected them to be modified, ordering that if ''at- 
tacked by a force so superior that resistance would, 

^ War Records, Serial No. i, p. 89. 


in your judgment, be a useless waste of life, it will 
be your duty to yield to necessity, and make the 
best terms in your power." * 

December 3, Anderson placed Lieutenant Jeffer- 
son C. Davis with thirty men in Castle Pinckney, 
and began work there. Action upon a request for 
arms for the workmen at Sumter and Pinckney was 
deferred by the war department ''for the present," 
but Captain Foster going to the arsenal, December 
17, for two gins for hoisting, "to the transmission of 
which there was no objection," arranged with the 
store-keeper that the old order of the ordnance de- 
partment of November i, for forty muskets, should 
be complied with, which was done. "Intense ex- 
citement" as usual was reported the next day to 
have occurred; there was the reiteration of great 
danger of "violent demonstration" from a military 
official of the state who called upon Foster, and 
who stated that Colonel Huger had informed the 
governor that no arms should be removed. Foster 
declined to return the arms, stating that he knew 
nothing of Huger 's pledge, but was willing to refer 
the matter to Washington. Trescot was informed 
by telegraph that "not a moment's time should be 
lost." The secretary of war was aroused in the 
depths of the night, and the result was a telegraphic 
order from Floyd himself to "return [the arms] in- 
stantly." ^ The go-between assistant secretary of 

* War Records, Serial No. i, p. 103. 

^ Ibid., pp. 96-100; Crawford, Fort Sumter, 77. 




I state, so busily engaged with affairs not his own, 
j received from the aide-de-camp of Governor Pickens 
the telegram: ''The Governor says he is glad of your 
despatch, for otherwise there would have been 
imminent danger. Earnestly urge that there be 
no transfer of troops from Fort Moultrie to Fort 
Sumter and inform Secretary of War." ^ Captain 
Foster explaining to the war department, Decem- 
ber 20, i860, says, "when in town to see General 
Schnierle and allay any excitement relative to the 
muskets, I found to my surprise that there was no 
excitement except with a very few who had been 
active in the matter, and the majority of the gen- 
tlemen whom I met had not even heard of it." ^ 

Pickens, the new governor of South Carolina, 
December 17, the day after his inauguration, and 
before the state had passed the ordinance of seces- 
sion, made a demand on the president for the de- 
livery of Fort Sumter. The letter, drawn in the 
most offensive terms, and marked "strictly confi- 
dential," urged that all work be stopped and that no 
more troops be ordered. It continued: "It is not 
improbable that, imder orders from the comman- 
dant, or, perhaps, from the commander-in-chief of 
the army, the alteration and defenses of the posts 
are progressing without the knowledge of yourself or 
the Secretary of War. The arsenal in the city of 
Charleston, with the public arms, I am informed, 

* Trescot MS., quoted by Crawford, Fort Sumter, 78. 
^ War Records, Serial No. i, p. loi. 


was turned over very properly to the keeping and 
defense of the State force at the urgent request of 
the Governor of South Carolina. I would most 
respectfully, and from a sincere devotion to the 
public peace, request that you would allow me to 
send a small force, not exceeding twenty-five men 
and an officer, to take possession of Fort Sumter 
immediately, in order to give a feeling of safety to 
the community." * 

The ever -ready Trescot arranged an interview 
December 20 with the president for the delivery of 
the letter. The president stated that he would 
give an answer the next day. In the mean time 
Trescot, seeing the difficulties to which it led, con- 
sulted both Senators Davis and Slidell, who thought 
the demand ''could do nothing but mischief"; and 
on consultation with two of the South Carolina dele- 
gation in Washington, Governor Pickens was ad- 
vised by telegraph to withdraw the letter, which 
was done. Trescot 's letter to Governor Pickens, 
returning that of the latter, after mentioning all 
that had been done by the executive to refrain 
from injuring the sensibilities of South Carolina, 
said: The president's "course had been violent^ 
denounced by the Northern press, and an effort 
was being made to institute a Congressional in- 
vestigation. At that moment he could not have 
gone to the extent of action you desired, and I felt 
confident that, if forced to answer your letter then, 
^ Crawford, Fort Sumter, 81-83. 


he would have taken such ground as would have 
prevented his even approaching it hereafter . . . 
you had all the advantage of knowing the truth, 
without the disadvantage of having it put on 
record. ... I was also perfectly satisfied that the 
status of the garrison would not be disturbed. ... I 
have had this morning an interview with Governor 
Floyd, the Secretary of War . . . while I cannot 
even here venture into details, which are too con- 
fidential to be risked in any way, I am prepared to 
say . . . that nothing will be done which will either 
do you injury or properly create alarm." ^ 

The president's painful weakness is but too clear 
in the fact that he had not only given his confi- 
dence so largely to such a man, whose position and 
attitude he knew, but saw nothing derogatory in 
such a letter as that of Governor Pickens, and could 
draught a reply (December 20) in which, w^hile 
stating that no authority had been given to Gov- 
ernor Gist to guard the Charleston arsenal, he said : 
" I deeply regret to observe that you seem entirely 
to have misapprehended my position, which I sup- 
posed had been clearly stated in my message. I 
have incurred, and shall incur, any reasonable risk 
... to prevent a collision. . . . Hence I have de- 
clined for the present to reinforce these forts, rely- 
ing upon the honor of the South Carolinians that 
they will not be assaulted whilst they remain in 
their present condition ; but that commissioners will 
^ Crawford, Fort Sumter, 85, 86. 


be sent by the convention to treat with Congress on 
the subject." ^ 

If the shades of Andrew Jackson and Zachary 
Taylor still haunted the White House, they must 
have wrung their ghostly hands in agony at their 
impotence. And so the pitiable story proceeds of a 
weak, well-meaning old man surrounded by false 
and traitorous counsellors; afraid to do the duty 
which was before him as plain as the light of day; 
hoping to fend off the dissolution of the Union dur- 
ing the few short months which remained to him of 
office; leaving the mighty deluge of woe, so sure to 
come through his inaction, to his successor. 

December 18 the president sent Caleb Cushing 
with a letter to Governor Pickens, with the idea of 
inducing the authorities and people of South Caro- 
lina to await the action of Congress and the de- 
velopment of opinion in the North as to the recom- 
mendation of his message. Governor Pickens told 
Cushing, December 20, the day of the passage of 
the ordinance of secession, that he would make no 
reply to the letter, and stated ''very candidly that 
there was no hope for the Union, and that, as far as 
he was concerned, he intended to maintain the 
separate independence of South Carolina." ^ 

^ Curtis, Buchanan, XL, 385. The emphasis is Buchanan's. 
^ Governor's message to legislature, quoted by Crawford, Fort 
Sumter, 87. 


(December 2, i86o-January 8, 1861) 

THE question of the United States forts was 
now uppermost, and upon the action regard- 
ing them hung war or peace. Three commissioners — 
Robert W. Barnwell, James H. Adams, and James L. 
Orr — were appointed by South Carolina to lay the 
ordinance of secession before the president and Con- 
gress, and were empowered as agents of the state 
to treat for the delivery of the forts and other real 
estate, for the apportionment of the public debt, 
and for a division of all the property of the United 

In apprehension of the occupation of Sumter by 
Anderson, a patrol by two small steamers, the Nina 
and General Clinch, was established, with orders to 
prevent such action at all hazards and seize Fort 
Sumter if it should be attempted. A Lieutenant- 
Colonel Green was sent to Fort Monroe to observe 
any movements; and one Norris, at Norfolk, was 
employed to give information of any action at the 
Norfolk navy -yard. A committee of prominent 
* War Records, Serial No. i, p. iii. 


men was sent to Fort Sumter, which thoroughly in- 
spected the works and reported upon them. 

Meantime, Major Anderson had been preparing, 
with great caution and foresight, to move his com- 
mand. For some ten days the officers had been 
apprised that it was advisable to send the families 
of the men to the unoccupied barracks on James's 
Island, known as Fort Johnson, a mile and a quarter 
west of Sumter. The work of mounting guns at 
Sumter had been discontinued for three days, and 
the elevating screws and pintle bolts sent to Moultrie 
so that the guns should not be used if the South- 
Carolinians should anticipate his action, and also to 
give the impression that occupancy of the fort was 
not designed. All stores and provisions at Fort 
Moultrie which could be carried, and personal be- 
longings, except what the men could carry in their 
knapsacks, were loaded as for Fort Johnson in the 
two small sailing-vessels which were to carry the 
women and children. 

Christmas Day had been fixed for the transfer, 
but heavy rains prevented. The delay might have 
had other consequences, for, curiously enough, on 
the morning of December 26, Colonel R. B. Rhett, 
Jr., waited upon the governor, with a private warn- 
ing letter from Washington to the effect that An- 
derson was about to seize Sumter, and urged the 
governor to secure it.* 

All was made ready on December 26, and the 
^ Crawford, Fort Sumter, 91. 


quartermaster who was to have charge of the little 
flotilla, loaded with ''everything in the household 
line from boxes and barrels of provisions to cages 
of canary birds," was directed to go to Fort John- 
son, but not to land anything. Upon a signal of 
two guns from Moultrie he was to go to Sumter on 
the plea that he had to report to Anderson that he 
could not find accommodations. Five pulling-boats 
in customary use were available for the transporta- 
tion of the men. Only one officer had been thus 
far informed, and the men had no suspicion where 
they were to go when they fell in at retreat roll-call 
with packed knapsacks and filled cartridge-boxes, 
carried at parade under a general standing order. 
So little was the movement suspected that Captain 
Doubleday, second in command, came at sunset to 
Anderson in the midst of the officers on the parapet 
to invite the major to tea. He was then informed 
of Anderson's intentions, and was directed to have 
his company in readiness in twenty minutes, an 
order met by an ''eager obedience." Part of this 
time was taken in arranging for the safety of Mrs. 
Doubleday in the village outside of the fort, whither 
the families of the other officers were also sent. 
The men were ready promptly, and the first de- 
tachment of twenty^ led by Anderson himself, 
marched over the quarter of a mile of sand to the 
landing-place with the good fortune of encounter- 
ing no one. 

Anderson went in the leading boat. Lieutenant 


Meade, the engineer officer in charge of the works 
at Castle Pinckney, had charge of the second, and 
Captain Doubleday of the third. When half-way 
across, Doubleday's boat came unexpectedly in the 
path of one of the patrol boats, the General Clinch ^ 
which was towing a schooner to sea. The men 
were ordered to take off their coats and cover their 
muskets. The steamer stopped, but in the twi- 
light, and with the resemblance of the boat and its 
load of men to the usual parties of workmen, sus- 
picion was not aroused, and the steamer resumed 
her way without questioning. She had been anx- 
iously watched from Moultrie, and had she inter- 
fered would have been fired upon by a thirty-two- 
pounder, two of which had been loaded with that 
intent. Captain Foster, with Assistant Surgeon 
Crawford, a Mr. Moall, four non-commissioned offi- 
cers, and seven privates, had been left at Moultrie to 
spike the guns, burn the gun-carriages, and hew 
down the flag- staff.* 

On reaching Sumter, the workmen, some hundred 
and fifty, swarmed to the wharf, some feebly cheer- 
ing, many angrily demanding the reason for the 
presence of the soldiers ; many of the workmen wore 
the secession cockade; the malcontents (a number 
of whom shortly returned to Charleston) quickly 
gave way before the bayonets of Doubleday's men, 
who at once occupied the main entrance and guard- 
room; sentries were posted and the fort was under 

* Crawford, Fort Sumter, chap. x. 

i860] fort SUMTER CRISIS 

military control. Boats were now sent back for 
Captain Seymour's company, which arrived without 
interference, and the whole force, except the few 
detailed to remain at ]\Ioultrie, was in Sumter before 
eight o'clock, at which hour Anderson wrote the 
adjutant -general, reporting that he had "just com- 
pleted, by the blessing of God, the removal to this 
fort of all my garrison. . . . The step which I have 
taken was, in my opinion, necessary to prevent the 
effusion of blood." ^ On the firing of the signal- 
guns at Moultrie, Lieutenant Hall left the west side 
of the bay with the two lighters carrying the men's 
families and stores, and reached Simiter under sail. 

With the help of the engineer's workmen at 
Moultrie, the boats were loaded during the night 
with part of the impedimenta of every sort which 
had to be left in the first crossing, and reached 
Sumter in the early dawn. The following day, De- 
cember 27, was passed like the preceding night, in 
transferring ammunition and other stores to Stmiter ; 
but a month and a half's supply of provisions, some 
fuel, and personal effects, had to be left. All the 
guns at Moultrie were spiked, and the carriages of 
those bearing on Sumter burned, the smoke from 
these bearing to Charleston the first indication of 
what had happened. At fifteen minutes before 
noon, the command and one hundred and fifty work- 
men were formed in a square near the flag-staff of 
Sumter; the chaplain offered a prayer expressing 
^ War Records, Serial No. i, p. 2. 

VOL. XIX. — 14 


gratitude for their safe arrival and prayed that the 
flag might never be dishonored, but soon float again 
over the whole country, a peaceful and prosperous 
nation. "When the prayer was finished. Major 
Anderson who had been kneeling arose, the bat- 
talion presented arms, the band played the National 
Air, and the flag went to the head of the flag-staff, 
amid the loud and earnest huzzas of the command." * 
Intense excitement in Charleston was the natural 
outcome of Anderson's action, and the morning of 
the 27th the governor sent his aide-de-camp, Colonel 
Pettigrew, accompanied by Major Capers, with a 
peremptory demand that Anderson should return 
with his garrison to Moultrie, to which Anderson 
replied, "Make my compliments to the Governor 
and say to him that I decline to accede to his re- 
quest ; I cannot and will not go back. ' ' The gov- 
ernor's messenger mentioned that when Governor 
Pickens came into office he foimd an understand- 
ing betw^een his predecessor (Gist) and the presi- 
dent, by which the status in the harbor was to 
remain unchanged. Anderson stated "that he knew 
nothing of it, that he could get no information or 
positive orders from Washington . . . that he had 
reason to believe that [the state troops] meant to 
land and attack him from the north; that the de- 
sire of the Governor to have the matter settled 
peaceably and without bloodshed was precisely his 
own object in transferring his command . . . that 
* Crawford, Fort Sumter, 112. 


j he did it upon his own responsibility alone, ' ' as safety 
j required it, "and as he had the right to do." He 
added that, In this controversy between the North 
and the South, my sympathies are entirely with the 
South"; but that a sense of duty to his trust was 
first. ^ The immediate result was the occupancy by 
the state forces, December 27, of Pinckney and 
Moultrie, the seizure, December 30, of the unoccu- 
pied barracks known as Fort Johnson, and of the 
arsenal, with its ordnance and ordnance stores, 
valued at four himdred thousand dollars. 

The news of Anderson's dramatic, bold, and self- 
reliant act, one for which the coimtry owes a debt 
to the memory of this upright and excellent com- 
mander, brought consternation to the president and 
secretary of war, who learned it through the inde- 
fatigable Trescot, who had, on the 26th, arranged 
for the three commissioners of South Carolina an 
interview with the president for December 27, at 
one o'clock. The news of the morning brought a 
complete change of circumstances. A telegram to 
Wigfall was brought by him to the commissioners 
and to the secretary of war, who at once went to the 
commissioners Trescot was present, and could not 
believe in an act not only without orders but in the 
face of orders." Floyd at once telegraphed, asking 
an explanation of the report. "It is not believed, 
because there is no order for any such movement." 
A telegram in reply from Anderson assured him of 
* Crawford, Fort Sumter, 110, iii. 


the truth, and a written report gave as reasons that 
"many things convinced me that the authorities of 
the State designed to proceed to a hostile act. Un- 
der this impression I could not hesitate that it was 
my solemn duty to move my command from a fort 
which we could not have held probably longer than 
forty-eight or sixty hours, to this one where my 
power of resistance is increased to a very great 
degree." ^ 

Trescot sought Senators Davis and Hunter at the 
Capitol, and went with them to the White House, 
where they found the president still uninformed. 
"'Then,' said Davis, 'I have a great calamity to 
announce to you.'" Having told the story, he 
added: "'And now, Mr. President, you are sur- 
romided with blood and dishonor on all sides.' The 
President was standing by the mantel-piece, crush- 
ing up a cigar in the palm of one hand — a habit I 
have seen him practice often. He sat down as Colo- 
nel Davis finished, and exclaimed, 'My God, are 
calamities (or misfortunes, I forget which) never to 
come singly! I call God to witness, you gentlemen, 
better than anybody, know that this is not only 
without but against my orders. It is against my 
policy.'" =^ 

The president was urged to restore the previous 
situation, on the ground that he was so bound in 
honor and on account of the probability of attack 

* War Records, Serial No. i, p. 3. 

2 Trescot MS., quoted by Crawford, Fort Sumter, 143. 


on Stiniter. He hesitated; he must call his cabinet 
together; he could not condemn Anderson unheard. 
*'He was told nobody asked that; only say that if 
the move had been made without a previous at- 
tack on Anderson he would restore the status. 
Assure us of that determination, and then take 
what time was necessary for consultation and in- 
formation." ^ 

With unusual firmness, Buchanan declined com- 
mitting himself. The cabinet was called together at 
once, and met frequently, from the 27th to the 29th, 
in stormy session. Floyd, although his resignation 
had been requested by the president December 23, 
through Vice-President Breckinridge, on account of 
his gross malfeasance which had just come to light, ^ 
came uninvited, and, with Thompson and Thomas, 
united in severe condemnation of Anderson's action. 
But Judge Black, now secretary of state. Holt, post- 
master-general, and Stanton, who had succeeded Black 
as attorney-general, were a saving triumvirate, and 
held the president from inconsiderate action. 

Friday, December 28, the three South Carolina 
commissioners had their only interview with the 
president, who attempted to cover this negotiation 
with men who ''from being the agents of a con- 
spiracy . . . had now become the emissaries of an 
insurrection"^ by informing them that he could 

* Trescot MS., quoted by Crawford, Fort Sumter, 144. 
^ See p. 151, above. 

' Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., 70. 


only recognize them as private gentlemen and not 
as commissioners from a sovereign state; that it 
was to Congress and to Congress alone that they 
must appeal. He expressed, however, his willing- 
ness to communicate to Congress any propositions 
they might desire to offer. They declared that 
they must obtain redress for the removal of Ander- 
son to Sumter before entering upon the negotiation 
with which they were intrusted, and insisted not 
only upon the immediate withdrawal of the troops 
from Sumter but from the harbor as a sine qua non} 

The commissioners insisted that there had been 
a violation of faith; that they could, at any time 
after the arrangement was made, have occupied 
Sumter and captured Moultrie, and that the faith 
of the president and government had been forfeited. 
Barnwell said to him at least three times during 
the interview, *'But, Mr. President, your personal 
honor is involved in this matter, the faith you 
pledged has been violated and your personal honor 
requires you to issue the order." At the third 
time the president turned to Barnwell with great 
earnestness, saying, "Mr. Barnwell, you are press- 
ing me too importunately; you don't give me time 
to say my prayers; I always say my prayers when 
required to act upon any great State affair." * 

In their letter to the president the next day they 
repeated their demand for the immediate with- 

* Buchanan, Administration on Eve of Rebellion, 182. 

^ Letter from Orr to Crawford, Crawford, Fort Sumter ^ 148. 


I drawal of the troops from Charleston harbor, as a 
I standing menace, making negotiations impossible 
i and threatening "to bring to a bloody issue ques- 
i tions which ought to be settled with temperance 
and judgment." ^ This action, if his later state- 
i ment is to be trusted, was not in Buchanan's mind 
for the moment, though he might have considered 
a return to Fort Moultrie, on a guarantee that none 
of the public property should be molested.^ 

When the cabinet met on the evening of Decem- 
ber 29, only one member, Toucey, wholly approved 
of the draught of the president's answer; Black, 
Holt, and Stanton disapproved altogether as yield- 
ing too much; Floyd, Thompson, and Thomas as 
yielding too little. The disagreement gave Floyd, 
who ought to have been dismissed, an opportunity 
to cover his disgrace by resignation the same day. 
He embodied in his letter of resignation a paper 
which he had read, with a violent and discourteous 
manner, to the president and his colleagues, De- 
cember 27, declaring ''that the solemn pledges of 
this government have been violated by Major An- 
derson"; and that "one remedy only is left, and 
that is to withdraw the garrison from the harbor of 
Charleston altogether." ^ January 2, Senator Wig- 
fall telegraphed Charleston: *'Holt succeeds Floyd. 

^ House Exec. Docs., 36 Cong,, 2 Sess., No. 26, p. 6; Buchanan, 
Administration on Eve of Rebellion, 182. 

^ Buchanan, Administration on Eve of Rebellion, 182. 

^ Correspondence of Floyd and Buchanan, Curtis, Buchanan^ 
II., 409. 


It means war. Cut off all supplies from Anderson 
and take Sumter soon as possible." ^ 

The exact contents of the president's draught of 
reply to the commissioners have never been made 
known ; but it may be gathered from the memoran- 
dum prepared by Judge Black that it was very com- 
promising, and Buchanan held firmly to it until the 
three Union members of the " cabinet threatened 
resignation. Black insisted that the whole paper 
should be recast, which was done by Black himself. 

As fast as the sheets were written, they were hand- 
ed to the Attorney General who copied them in his 
own hand, the original being sent directly to the 
President." Black's memorandum demanded that 
every word implying that the president could treat 
with South Carolina should be stricken out, as well 
as all expression of regret that the commissioners 
were unwilling to proceed with the negotiations. 
Above all things it was objectionable to intimate 
that the possession of a military post could be a 
subject of negotiation. ''The forts in the harbor of 
Charleston belong to this Government, are its own 
and cannot be given up. . . . Sumter is impregnable 
and cannot be taken if defended as it should be. It 
is a thing of the last importance that it should be 
maintained if all the power of this nation can do 
it." A flat denial of bargain, pledge, or agreement 
assumed by the commissioners to exist should be 
made; the remotest expression of doubt about An- 
^ War Records, Serial No. i, p. 252. 


derson's perfect propriety of behavior should be 
carefully avoided. "He has," said Black, ''saved 
i the country, I solemnly believe, when its day was 
darkest and its peril most extreme/ He has done 
I everything which mortal man could do to repair 
the fatal error which the administration have com- 
; mitted in not sending down troops enough to hold 
all the forts. He has kept the strongest one. He 
still commands the harbor. We may still execute 
the laws if we try. ... It is a strange assumption of 
right on the part of . . . [South Carolina] to say that 
! the United States troops must remain in the weakest 
I position they can find in the harbor. It is not a 
menace ... it is simply self-defense." 

Judge Black added: ''But there is one thing not 
to be overlooked in this terrible crisis. I entreat 
the President to order the Brooklyn and the Mace- 
' donian to Charleston without the least delay, and 
: in the mean time send a trusty messenger to Major 
I Anderson to let him know that his Government will 
not desert him. The reinforcement of troops from 
New York or Old Point Comfort should follow im- 
mediately. If this be done at once all may yet be, 
not well, but comparatively safe. If not, I can see 
nothing before us but disaster and ruin to the 
country." ^ 

The president's answer to the commissioners, 
December 31, was a weak accord with Black's 

* Of. Crawford, Fort Sumter, 15$ n. 
^ Ibid., 153-155. 


draught. **The Executive," he said, "has no au- 
thority to decide what shall be the relations be- 
tween the Federal Government and South Caro- 
lina." He denied that he had bound himself by 
any pledge. As to Anderson, he said: "My first 
promptings were to command him to return to his 
former position. . . . But before any steps could pos- 
sibly have been taken in this direction, we received 
information, dated the 28th instant, that 'The Pal- 
metto flag floated out to the breeze at Castle Pinck- 
ney and a large military force went over last night 
(the 27th) to Fort Moultrie.' Thus the authorities 
of South Carolina, without waiting or asking for any 
explanation, and doubtless believing, as you have 
expressed it, that the officer had acted not only 
without, but against my orders, on the very next 
day after the night when the removal was made, 
seized by a military force two of the three Federal 
forts in the harbor of Charleston. . . . On the very 
day . . . ," he continued, "the Palmetto flag was 
raised over the Federal custom house and post of- 
fice in Charleston ; and . . . every oflicer of the cus- 
toms . . . resigned. ... It is under all these circum- 
stances that I am urged immediately to withdraw 
the troops from the harbor of Charleston, and am 
informed that, without this, negotiation is impossi- 
ble. This I cannot do; this I will not do."^ 

The reply next day (January i, 1861) of the com- 

* Curtis, Buchanan, II., 386-390; War Records, Serial No. i, 
pp. 115-118. 



missioners was so insulting in temper and character 
that the president declined to receive it. Buchanan 
must have read with bitterness the stinging resume 
of what he had failed to do. " You did not re-enforce 
the garrisons in the harbor of Charleston. You re- 
moved a distinguished and veteran officer from the 
command of Fort Moultrie because he attempted 
to increase his supply of ammunition. You refused 
to send additional troops to the same garrison when 
applied for by the officer appointed to succeed him. 
You accepted the resignation of the oldest and most 
efficient member of your Cabinet rather than allow 
these garrisons to be strengthened. You compelled 
an officer stationed at Fort Sumter to return imme- 
diately to the arsenal forty muskets which he had 
taken to arm his men. You expressed not to one 
but to many of the most distinguished of our public 
characters . . . your anxiety for a peaceful termina- 
tion of this controversy, and your willingness not 
to disturb the military status of the forts, if com- 
missioners should be sent to the Government, w^hose 
commimications you promised to submit to Con- 
gress." * 

It was a new light to the president. For a time he 
w^as another man, in so far that he now placed him- 
self in the hands of the Unionist members of the 
cabinet, which was soon to become wholly of Union- 
ist complexion. The presidency thenceforward may 
be said to have been in commission, the commission- 
* War Records, Serial No. i, pp. 121, 122. 


ers executing the office hampered, however, by the 
irrepressible tendency of the president to treat with 
his ancient friends of the South on a footing of 
friendhness, with the hope apparently of winning 
them back by softness both of word and conduct. 
January 2 he gave an indication of his new trend 
of intention in the appointment of Peter Mclntire, 
a Pennsylvanian of character and force, as collector 
of the port of Charleston; the Senate never acted 
upon the nomination.^ 

Anderson's conduct met with enthusiastic approval 
in the North. The coimtry felt that it had finally 
found a man of action, and there was an immense 
patriotic rebound from the depression of the previous 
two months. The House of Representatives gave 
emphatic approval in a resolution, January 7, com- 
mending Anderson's ''bold and patriotic " act, by a 
vote of 124 to 53.^ The support of Anderson by 
the administration, the changes in the cabinet, and 
the ill success of the South Carolina commissioners 
created a new phase of the issue. 

January 8 the president sent a message showing 
his own changed state of mind. With it he sub- 
mitted the correspondence with the South Carolina 
commissioners. Throughout the message ran a 
note of despair. Hope of amicable adjustment had 
"been diminished by every hour of delay"; and as 
evidence of this no responsible bidder had offered 

^ Curtis, Buchanan, II., 483. 

2 Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 280. 


to take any considerable sum of the ten millions of 
treasury notes authorized December 17, i860, at a 
lower rate of interest than twelve per cent. He 
recognized that the country was ''in the midst of 
a great revolution." On Congress, and on Con- 
gress alone, he said, rested the responsibility for 
adjustment, or for the authorization of the employ- 
ment of a military force. Could the question be 
transferred to the ballot-box, ''the people them- 
selves would speedily redress the serious grievances 
which the South had suffered." He recommended 
that Congress devote itself exclusively to the ques- 
tion of the preservation of the Union. "iVction, 
prompt action, is required." ^ 

The reading of the president's message in the 
House, January 9, was immediately followed by a 
resolution offered by Howard, of Michigan, passed 
after a short debate by a vote of 136 to 62, for the 
appointment of a special committee to inquire 
whether any executive officer of the government was 
holding any commimication with any persons con- 
cerning the surrender of public property; whether 
any pledge or understanding had been entered into 
regarding reinforcement of the Charleston forts; 
why such reinforcements had not been furnished; 
and to inquire in general into the situation of public 
property at Charleston.^ This same day the Star 

^Curtis, Buchanan, II., 433-436; Richardson, Messages and 
Papers, V., 655-659. 

^ Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 295. 


of the West, with the much-needed reinforcements, 
turned from the weak Confederate batteries, the 
guns of Sumter silent. 

While the president had come slowly to a recogni- 
tion of his duty to reinforce Sumter, and could not 
but see in the changed attitude of the northern mind 
towards himself a thorough appreciation of his action 
in regard to Anderson and Sumter, his political 
instincts should have enabled him to recognize that 
to lean upon Congress for readjustment was, in the 
temper of both parties, hopeless. 


Qanuary, i86i) 

BLACK'S insistence upon reinforcing Sumter 
eventually had effect, but there was a fatal 
divergence, due to Scott, from his wish to send the 
Brooklyn, then lying ready for sea at Norfolk, with 
trained troops from Fort Monroe. Scott, Decem- 
ber 28, sent a memorandum to Floyd, still his su- 
perior, expressing the hope that Sumter should not 
be evacuated; that one hundred and fifty recruits 
should be immediately sent as reinforcement from 
Governor's Island, and that one or two armed 
vessels be sent to support the fort. He also 
hoped that his previous recommendations regarding 
"Forts Jackson, St. Philip, Morgan, and Pulaski, 
and particularly in respect to Forts Pickens and 
McRee and the Pensacola navy -yard, in connec- 
tion with the last two named works, may be re- 
considered by the secretary." * Two days later, 
December 30, he sent a memorandum to the presi- 
dent asking permission to send, without reference 
to the war department, two hundred and fifty re- 
* War Records, Serial No. i, p. 112. 



cruits from New York to Sumter, together with 
extra arms, ammunition, and subsistence. He also 
hoped ''that a sloop -of -war and cutter may be 
ordered for the same purpose as early as to-mor- 
row." The president, now so much more alive to 
the situation, and probably upon the insistence 
of Black, preferred to send the Brooklyn. *'He 
thought that a powerful war steamer with disci- 
plined troops on board would prove more effective 
than a sloop of war and cutter with raw recruits." * 
The morrow, Monday, December 31, began well. 
Holt, who had taken over the war department, at 
once sent for Scott; and Colonel Dimick, com- 
mandant of Fort Monroe, was ordered to put 
aboard the Brooklyn, then at Norfolk ready for sea, 
as soon as she could receive them, " four companies, 
making at least two hundred men," and subsistence 
for ninety days.^ Had General Scott adhered to 
this wise plan, there would have been a different 

With the orders given for Sumter's relief came 
an unfortunate delay on the part of the president, 
who felt it necessary to give the commissioners of 
South Carolina time to reply to his letter, just sent 
(December 31). Scott, who was called in for con- 
sultation, agreed in the propriety of the delay as 
being "gentlemanly and proper."^ Later in the 

* Buchanan, Administration on Eve of Rebellion, 189. 

2 War Records, Serial No. i, p. 119. 

3 Buchanan, Administration on Eve of Rebellion, 190. 



same evening Buchanan promised the disunion 
secretary of the interior, Thompson, that the orders 
for the reinforcements should not be renewed 
"without being previously considered and decided 
in the cabinet." Two days later, on receiving the 
commissioners' caustic reply, he exclaimed, "It is 
now all over, and reinforcements must be sent." ^ 
But the delay was fatal. In the meantime Scott 
became convinced, "after advising with an indi- 
vidual believed to possess much knowledge and 
practical experience in naval affairs, that the better 
plan to secure both secrecy and success" would be 
to send recruits in a merchant steamer from New 
York. The Star of the West, of the New Orleans line, 
on the insistence of Scott and against the judgment 
of the president,^ was thus chosen; and "two hun- 
dred well instructed men with, say, three officers," 
were ordered to be embarked as secretly as possible 
from Governor's Island,^ thus substituting a weak, 
unarmed, side -wheel merchantman and lately re- 
cruited men for the powerful man-of-war and sea- 
soned soldiers. 

To suppose such a change more conducive to 
secrecy was perfectly vain, as was shown by its 
publication broadcast. The details left to General 
Scott were carried out at New York by Lieutenant- 

' Buchanan to Thompson, January 9, 1861, Curtis, Buchanan, 
II., 402. 

2 Buchanan, in National Intelligencer, October 28, 1862 ; Curtis, 
Biichanan, II., 447; Buchanan, Administration on Eve of Rebel- 
lion, 189, 190. 3 War Records, Serial No. i, p. 128. 



Colonel Lorenzo Thomas, the assistant adjutant- 
general on his staff. The ship was cleared as if for 
her regular trip, the provisions bought as for the 
ship's account, and at 5 p.m., January 5, an hour 
of darkness at this season, she left her wharf, stopped 
off Staten Island, received aboard from a tug four 
officers and two hundred men, and stood to sea. A 
New York paper of the same afternoon announced 
the movement.^ The news appeared also in the 
Constitution (of Washington), January 8, a fact 
upon which Secretary Thompson based his right to 
telegraph the news the same day to Charleston. 
Senator Wigfall also telegraphed on the 8th, so that 
Charleston was fully informed the evening before 
the ship's arrival. Colonel Thomas sent a letter 
from New York, January 5, to Anderson, of general 
advice regarding the movement, which directed 
him, "should a fire, likely to prove injurious, be 
opened upon any vessel bringing reinforcements or 
supplies, or upon tow boats within reach of your 
guns, they may be employed to silence such fire; 
and you may act in like manner in case a fire is 
opened upon Fort Sumter itself." ^ 

This letter, which should have been sent by a 
special messenger in the inception of the arrange- 
ment, did not reach Anderson in time, his only 
intimation of the ship's coming being a paragraph 
in a Charleston evening paper of January 8, which 

^ Crawford, Fort Sumter, 176. 

^ War Records, Serial No. i, p. 132. 


1861] STAR OF THE WEST 227 

i was not believed, as Anderson had not thought it 
possible that any but a ship of war would be sent. 
Thus no special arrangements at Sumter w^ere made 
or orders given to meet this most important emer- 

Few things reflect more discredit upon American 
administration than the failure of the Star of the 
West to render the service intended. Arriving off 
Charleston at 1.30 in the morning of January 9, the 
harbor lights were found extinguished, and it was 
not until 4 a.m. that a light, supposed to be on 
Simiter, was made. At daybreak a vessel inshore 
fired colored signals and steamed up the channel. 
As soon as the leading marks could be made out, the 
Star of the West, with colors at the peak, moved up 
the channel. When abreast Cummings Point (the 
northern end of Morris Island) and "within one 
and three quarter miles of Forts Sumter and Moul- 
trie,"^ fire was opened by the battery there, one 
shot from which struck abaft the port fore-channels 
and one near the rudder, doing no important dam- 
age. A large American ensign w^as now hoisted at 
the fore, put aboard at New York by Colonel 
Thomas with instructions to be so used if fired 
upon, and with the statement that "Major Ander- 
son would tmderstand it and protect the ship un- 
der the gims of Sumter." As the ship approached 

* Crawford, Fort Sumter, 185. 

2 Report of Lieutenant Woods, commanding troops, War 
Records^ Serial No. i, p. 10, 


Moultrie, which had to be passed at about three- 
quarters of a mile, ''a steamer was seen approach- 
ing with an armed schooner in tow, and the battery 
on the island firing on us all the time and having 
no cannon to defend ourselves from the attack of 
the vessels, we concluded that to avoid certain 
capture or destruction, w^e would endeavor to get 
to sea, consequently we wore round and steered 
down the channel, the battery firing upon us until 
the shot fell short." ^ The ship was back at New 
York Saturday, January 12. 

Captain (later General) Doubleday's account is so 
graphic that it must be given in his own words: 
"Soon after daylight on the morning of the 9th I 
was on the parapet with my spyglass ; for I fancied 
from a signal I had observed the previous evening 
on a pilot boat that something must be coming. 
As I looked seaward I saw a large steamer pass the 
bar and enter the Morris Island channel. It had 
the ordinary United States flag up; and as it evi- 
dently did not belong to the navy, I came to the 
conclusion it must be the Star of the West. . . . 
Anderson himself was still in bed. When the ves- 
sel came opposite the new battery which had been 
built by the cadets, I saw a shot fired to bring her 
to. Soon after an immense United States garrison 
flag was run up at the fore. ... I dashed down to 
Anderson's room. ... He told me to have the long 
roll beaten, and to post the men on the parapet. 

* Captain McGowan's report, Ai^. Y. Times, January 14, 1861. 

i86i] STAR OF THE WEST 229 

... It took but a few minutes for men and officers 
to form at the guns. . . . The battery was still fir- 
ing, but the transport had passed by and was 
rapidly getting out of range. At the same time it 
was approaching within gunshot of Fort Moultrie. 
The latter immediately opened fire from one or two 
guns. Anderson would not allow us to return this 
fire; and the captain of the vessel, wholly discour- 
aged by our failure to respond, turned about. . . . 
We had one or two guns bearing on Fort Moultrie; 
and as that was within easy range we could have 
kept down the fire there long enough to enable the 
steamer to come in." ^ 

Fine as Anderson's conduct in general was, it 
here fell short both of duty and the traditions of the 
service. The moment was one for action which 
would have covered his name with highest honor; 
he hesitated, the ship fled, and what might have 
become a great turning-point of the time became a 
ridiculous fiasco. Anderson listened to advice which 
tallied too much with his own feelings. Of those 
proffering it, no doubt with good intentions, was 
Lieutenant Meade (who later joined the South), who 
earnestly advised that fire should not be opened, as 
it would at once ''initiate civil war," ^ and that the 
governor would repudiate the act. The attack was 
war; and there should have been not a moment's 
hesitancy in treating it as such. 

* Doubleday, Sumter and Moultrie, 102-104. 
2 Crawford, Fort Sumter, 186. 


The fault was in the ineptitude of the govern- 
ment itself : in its not giving Anderson in the outset 
of preparation full and definite information of its 
intention ; in its repeated admonitions to preserve 
the peace; in not sending the troops in a man-of- 
war, or, if sent in a merchant vessel, in not placing 
the ship under the direction of a naval officer. The 
duty under the circumstances was one which it was 
scarcely possible to expect the merchant captain to 
fill successfully. To give its leadership to one im- 
accustomed to war, whose whole life had been an 
education merely in the navigation and preserva- 
tion of his ship, was an act of bad judgment which 
it is difficult to criticise too harshly. But had he 
received any support; had his signals, made by 
lowering and hoisting the ensign at the fore, been 
noticed in any way (the fort halyards unfortu- 
nately fouled) ; * above all, had Sumter fired a sin- 
gle gun to hearten him, the captain and the offi- 
cer in command of the troops aboard would 
probably have held to their duty and run all 

The risks were not great. The raw volunteers in 
the batteries had never been trained to use the 
guns; the results of the two shots which struck the 
ship showed no more, in fact, than that the powder 
used was of a very deteriorated sort, and any vessels 
of the port which might have attempted to pass in 
the narrow waters between Sumter and Moultrie 

* Crawford, Fort Sumter, 186. 

i86i] STAR OF THE WEST 231 

would have been quickly sunk by the guns of the 
former in expert hands. 

But the chief personal blame must fall upon 
Scott, in changing from the Brookly fir and the trained 
men at Fort Monroe to the Star of the West and raw 
recruits. Even if the batteries had dared to fire 
upon the former, which was most unlikely, her own 
heavy battery of twenty -two 9 -inch guns would 
have quickly silenced their feeble efforts; no naval 
commander could have hesitated a moment to re- 
turn such fire; Sumter would have been reinforced, 
and the ship herself would have been a powerful 
fort in the harbor to resist future attack, even had 
Moultrie and the Morris Island battery been left 
undestroyed. There would have been no future 
question of holding Charleston harbor. It was, 
however, an era of failure; it required the rough 
school of defeat and humiliation to teach the way 
of moral courage and success. 

Scott, says Lincoln's secretaries, ''had never 
favored the plan of sending the Brooklyn. Two 
insuperable objections to it appeared to his profes- 
sional judgment. It was affirmed that the vessel, 
by reason of her deep draft, could not cross the 
Charleston bar, unless under circumstances excep- 
tionally favorable. Her arrival at low tide, or dur- 
ing a storm, would delay and most likely defeat her 
entrance by giving notice of her approach and time 
to organize resistance. But the second objection 
was even more imperative. Fort Monroe was one 



of the two most important strongholds on the whole 
Atlantic coast. ... To strip it of two hundred men 
. . . would be to place it in extreme jeopardy." ^ 
Neither of these was a valid reason. The Brooklyn, 
with everything she could conveniently carry, drew 
but sixteen feet three inches. She could have been 
made easily to draw but fifteen and a half feet.^ 
There was no need for loading her deeply, as coal 
and stores could have been sent separately. As to 
the defence of Fort Monroe, the two hundred men 
withdrawn could have been simultaneously re- 
placed by the recruits from New York as easily as 
they were sent to Charleston. It, in fact, only 
needed efficiency in the war department, backed by 
a resolute president, to have saved and completely 
altered the situation. 

Even when it was decided to send the Brooklyn 
to aid the Star of the West in case of injury to the 
latter, and to convey an order of recall to Hampton 
Roads should she fail, the orders were not issued 
until January 7, two days after the ship had left 
New York, and did not reach the Brooklyn until 
January 9, the day the Star of the West reached j 
Charleston. The Brooklyn left Norfolk at 11.20 
A.M. the same day the orders were received, and ar- 
rived off Charleston the 12th. Speaking a schooner 
leaving Charleston for New York, Captain Walker, 
of the Brooklyn, heard of the ill success of the Star 

Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., 94. 
2 From official data. 

i86i] STAR OF THE WEST 233 

of the West. His orders required him not to at- 
tempt to cross the bar, and there was nothing to 
do but return to Hampton Roads, as his orders 

Immediately after the disappearance of the Star 
of the West, Anderson called a coimcil of his officers, 
who were much divided in opinion as to the ques- 
tion of closing the port and firing upon vessels or 
batteries.^ The milder course was adopted of send- 
ing by an officer a letter to the governor demand- 
ing to know if the firing was without his sanction, 
for "under that hope, and that alone," said Ander- 
son, ''did I refrain from opening fire upon your 
batteries. ... If it be not disclaimed ... I must re- 
gard it as an act of war, and . . . shall not, after a 
reasonable time for the return of my messenger, 
permit any vessels to pass within range of the guns 
of my fort." Anderson, in closing, expressed a 
hope, however, that the answer might be such as 
to justify a further continuance of forbearance on 
his part.^ 

It was scarcely possible that Anderson could ex- 
pect a disavowal; the same day brought from the 
governor an elaborate rehearsal of the situation, 
which said, in closing: ''The act is perfectly justified 
by me. In regard to your threat to vessels in the 
harbor, it is only necessary to say that you must 

^ Naval War Records, IV., 220, 221. 

2 Crawford, Fort Sumter, 187. 

3 lYar Records, Serial No. i, p. 134. 


judge of your own responsibilities." ^ This reply, 
insulting in tone and substance, was really a dec- 
laration of war; and, if not regarded as such by 
Anderson, should have been so taken by the gov- 
ernment to the extent at least of reinforcing the 
fort at all hazards. 

Anderson informed Governor Pickens that he 
would refer the matter and await instructions. 
Lieutenant Talbot left the same evening for Wash- 
ington, with a safe-conduct as bearer of despatches. 
The reply of the secretary of war was not sent until 
January 16. Anderson was then informed that the 
president fully approved his forbearance to return 
the fire; but the most important sentence was: 
"Whenever in your judgment additional supplies 
or re-enforcements are necessary for your safety or 
for a successful defense of the fort, you will at once 
communicate the fact to this Department and a 
prompt and vigorous effort will be made to forward 
them." 2 

How much this meant can be known only by 
taking as a context a despatch sent by Anderson 
December 31, and received in Washington January 
5, in which he said: ''Thank God we are now where 
the Government may send us additional troops at 
its leisure ; . . . we can command this harbor as long 
as our Government wishes to keep it." ^ Acting on 
this information, a telegram was actually sent from 

* War Records, Serial No. i, 135. 
^ Ibid., 140. ^ Ibid., 120. 

i86i] STAR OF' THE WEST 235 

Washington countermanding the sailing of the Star 
of the West; but she had already left/ The result 
of Anderson's statement was most unhappy; in 
the future the responsibility, technically, was on 
Anderson and not on the war department, to which 
he had given so strong an assurance of his ability 
to hold his own. Nevertheless, there should have 
been, and there was, ability enough in the depart- 
ment to recognize that sixty men could not work the 
forty-eight heavy guns already mounted. Deep in- 
capacity and ignorance seem to have ruled, despite 
the well meaning of an able and thoroughly energetic 
secretary of war, supported by a secretary of state 
whose memorandum to General Scott, January 16, 
shows the stress of mind under which labored these 
two loyal civilians, groping for military advice and 
eager for action. Black asked: i. Is it the duty 
of the Government to re-enforce Major Anderson? 
2. If yes, how soon is it necessary that these re-en- 
forcements should be there? 3. What obstacles 
exist to prevent the sending of such re-enforcements 
at any time when it may be necessary to do so?" 
Black then proceeded to expound at length his own 
views, in substance as follows: 

I. It seems settled that i.\nderson is to be with- 
drawn; his position is so nearly impregnable that 
attack at present is improbable, and he had pro- 
visions for two months. The fort is now in a state 
of siege: in the course of a few weeks it will be 

* Buchanan, Administration on Eve of Rebellion, 191. 


very difficult for him to hold out; the men will 
be exhausted; his surrender is a question of time 
only; unless ordered to surrender at once, relief 
must be sent him. 

II. Can we justify delay? The South Carolina 
authorities are increasing their ability to prevent 
reinforcement every hour; it is certain Anderson 
could have all he needs with very little risk, if the 
effort be made immediately; but it is impossible 
to predict cost in blood and money if postponed 
two or three months. 

III. I am persuaded the difficulty of relief is 
much magnified by some. From you I shall be able 
to ascertain whether I or they be mistaken. A 
pirate or slaver assiired of five hundred dollars 
w^ould laugh the danger to scorn. But suppose it 
impossible for an unarmed vessel, what is the diffi- 
culty of sending the Brooklyn or Macedonian in? 
The Brooklyn draws ordinarily only sixteen and a 
half feet, and her draught can be reduced eighteen 
inches by putting her on an even keel. The shal- 
lowest place w^ill give her eighteen feet at high tide. 
In point of fact, she has crossed the bar more than 
once. But the government has three or four smaller 
steamers of light draught and great speed which 
could be armed and at sea in a few days, and would 
not be troubled by any opposition they might meet 
at the entrance. Your opinion, of course, will be 
conclusive with me.^ 

' War Records, Serial No. i, pp. 140-142. 


1861] STAR OF THE WEST 237 

The only answer made to this was a memorandum 
j in General Scott's best turgidity of style: ''Lieuten- 
ant-General Scott received the Hon. Mr. Black's 
^ communication yesterday at too late an hour and in 
i{ the midst of too complexing engagements to attend 
to it. The moment he is released by the War De- 
partment this morning, General Scott will seek Mr. 
Black, and repeat his efforts till he has had the pleasure 
of finding him at the Department of State Thursday 
morning,"^ The question, so far as official records 
show, ended here : the general did not meet the sec- 
retary ; ^ there was no advice given, no action taken. 

Nor were other offers of effective plans of relief 
wanting. Commander Ward, of the navy, proposed 
to employ four or more coast-survey steamers. 
Scott had no doubt this would succeed, but the 
president would not allow the attempt.^ Another 
plan, which was later to receive attention, was 
presented by G. V. Fox, an ex-officer of the navy, 
who became assistant secretary of the navy in the 
next administration: "From the outer edge of the 
Charleston bar in a straight line to Sumter through 
the Swash Channel the distance is 4 miles, with 
no shoal spots having less than 9 feet at high 
water. The batteries on Morris and Sullivan's isl- 
ands are about 2600 yards apart, and between these 
troops and supplies must pass. I proposed to 
anchor three small men-of-war off the entrance to the 

* Crawford, Fort Sumter, 240. 2 Ji,id. 

3 War Records, Serial No. i, p. 197. 





Swash Channel as a safe base of operations against 
any naval attack from the enemy, the soldiers and 
provisions to be carried to the Charleston bar in the 
Collins steamer Baltic, all the provisions and muni- 
tions to be put in portable packages easily handled 
by one man, the Baltic to carry 300 extra sailors 
and a sufficient ntmiber of armed launches to land 
all the troops at Fort Sumter in one night. Three 
steam tugs of not more than 6 feet draft of water 
. . . were ... to be used for carrying in the troops 
and provisions in case the weather should be too 
rough for boats. With the exception of the men-of- 
war and tugs, the whole expedition was to be com- 
plete on board the Baltic, and its success depend- 
ed upon the possibility of rimning past batteries 
at night, which were distant from the center of the 
channel 1300 yards." ^ 

This plan, undoubtedly feasible,^ was presented 
February 4, and, on the 7th, Scott, who approved 
the plan, presented Fox to Holt, who agreed to 
present the matter to the president that evening. 
February 8, however, the day after the election of 
Davis to the presidency of the Confederacy, Scott 
informed Fox that probably no effort would be 
made to relieve Sumter. Scott "seemed much dis- 
appointed and astonished." ^ 

* Naval War Records, IV., 245, 247. 

2 Chisholm, " Notes on the Surrender of Fort Sumter," in Bat- 
tles and Leaders of the Civil War, I., 83. 

3 Naval War Records, IV., 246. 

i86i] STAR OF THE WEST 239 

Anderson's hesitancy and overcaution quickly 
bore further fruit. January 11, four hulks were 
sunk across the harbor entrance, and shortly after 
noon of the same day a boat brought Magrath, sec- 
retary of state of South Carolina, and Jamison, sec- 
retary of war, to demand the delivery of Sumter. 
Anderson again assembled the officers and put to 
them the question of acceding or not to the demand. 
They were unanimously opposed, though a marked 
impression was made upon them, long kept as they 
had been in ignorance of the intentions of the gov- 
ernment. Judge Magrath, addressing the impro- 
vised council, said "that President Buchanan was 
in his dotage; that the Government at Washington 
was breaking up; that all was confusion, despair, 
and disorder there; and that it was full time for us 
to look out for our own safety, for if we refused to 
give up the fort nothing could prevent the South- 
ern troops from exterminating us. He ended this 
tragical statement by saying, 'May God Almighty 
enable you to come to a just decision.'" ^ 

Anderson, asking w^hy they did not first attempt 
diplomacy, offered, if the South Carolina authorities 
would send a commissioner to Washington to pre- 
sent their claims, to send an officer ''to represent 
the condition of the fort, and the Governrnxcnt could 
then form its own judgment and come to some de- 
cision." Again, of course, it was playing the seces- 
sionists' own game of delay, and in a way which 

* Doubleday, Sumter and Moultrie, 107, 108. 


could not have better suited their purposes. This 
truce, for such it practically was, was eagerly ac- 
cepted/ The South-Carolinians were but too well 
aware of their weakness ; they had, on January i , 
but three 24-pounders on Morris Island, manned by 
a force ''not a man of whom probably ever saw a 
24-pounder manipulated or fired." ^ At this time it 
has been truly said, ''The Charleston insurrection 
was as weak and defenseless as a new born infant." ^ 

The governor's envoy, I. W. Hayne, the attorney- 
general of South Carolina, and Major Anderson's 
messenger, Lieutenant Hall, left Charleston Janu- 
ary 1 2 , the former bearing the demand of Governor 
Pickens for the delivery of Sumter. They arrived 
at Washington the next day, and then began a con- 
spiracy for a delay which could only tie the hands 
of the Federal government, and give time to com- 
plete the full scheme of secession and to prepare 
for the capture of Sumter. 

On advice, in a note to Hayne from nine south- 
ern senators, Jefferson Davis at the head,^ Gov- 
ernor Pickens's letter was not delivered. Instead, 
the president was called upon by various persons, 
especially by Senator Clay, of Alabama, January 
16, who pressed for a withdrawal from Sumter. He 
was informed by the president that this would not 

* Doubleday, Sumter and Moultrie, 109. 

2 Report of General James Simons to Governor Pickens, in 
5. C. House Journal, 1861, pp. 177-179. 

^ Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., 121. 

* Buchanan, Administration on Eve of Rebellion, J97. 


be done under any circumstances. Clay, mention- 
ing that he had come from the seceding senators, 
said they wanted Hayne to remain a few days and 
submit a proposition to the government of South 
Carolina to agree that Anderson should be placed 
in his former position, the government to have free 
access to him ; that he should be free to buy all the 
provisions needed, and that he should not be dis- 
turbed if not reinforced. He injected the remark 
that "there was a truce agreed upon so long as 
Hayne was" in Washington. Buchanan replied 
that he "had understood that there had been." 
Clay went on to say that the truce might be con- 
tinued even until the 4th of March, and Buchanan 
replied that the truce would continue until Colonel 
Hayne left, which "he supposed would be in a few " 
days." "I told him," says Buchanan, "I could 
say nothing further on the subject of the truce, nor 
could I express any opinion on the subjects to 
which he had referred, unless the proposition were 
reduced to writing, and presented to me in a dis- 
tinct form. He said I need be under no apprehen- 
sions as to the security of the fort. He had just 
come from Jefferson Davis, who said it coidd not be 
taken; and Lars Anderson had informed him that 
Major Anderson said he did not require reinforce- 
ments." Clay thereupon "got up and said he 
would go to those who had sent him, and it would 
be for them to decide upon the proposition." ^ 

^ Curtis, Buchanan, II., 452-454. 



Many writers have deprecated applying the word 
"conspiracy" to the secession movement; but if the 
word is suitable for a secret, long-continued, and 
concerted movement, the term is just. On January 
5, Senators Davis and Brown, of Mississippi; Hemp- 
hill and Wigfall, of Texas; Slidell and Benjamin, of 
Louisiana ; Iverson and Toombs, of Georgia ; Johnson, 
of Arkansas ; Clay, of Alabama ; Yulee and Mallory, 
of Florida, met in Washington and passed resolu- 
tions for the immediate secession of their respective 
states, and for a convention at Montgomery, Ala- 
bama, to meet not later than February 16, to organ- 
ize a southern confederacy ; they requested instruc- 
tions from their friends as to whether the delegations 
were to remain in Congress until March 4, so as to 
defeat threatened hostile legislation/ As one of 
them privately expressed it, ''By remaining in our 
places ... it is thought we can keep the hands of 
Mr. Buchanan tied and disable the Republicans 
from effecting any legislation which will strengthen 
the hands of the incoming administration." ^ Ex- 
traordinary ethics which could permit men sworn 
to support the Constitution, and paid out of the 
Federal treasury, to use their official position to 
conspire for the downfall of their government! 

The fact that the action of this cabal was almost 
at once published, and that it was openly mentioned 
in southern conventions, does not divest it of its 

1 War Records, Serial No. i, p. 443- 

2 Yulee to Finegan, January 7, 1861, in ibid. 

I 1861] 



'I true character. It is impossible in our country to 
keep secret proceedings of a character designed to 
influence many widely separated individuals; but 
the intent of secrecy imdoubtedly existed. Even 
the southern leaders were not so disregardful of place 
I and circmr.stances as to flaimt willingly such action 
|| in the face of the president, or such designs upon 
' legislation in the face of their northern colleagues.^ 
Mr. Davis, twenty years later, indignantly pro- 
claimed the absurdity of the statement;^ but it is 
I very diflicult to accept this opinion in face of the 
resolutions of January 5, which he signed, and of 
a letter to Governor Pickens, January 13, in w^hich 
he said: " I take it for granted that the time allowed 
to the garrison of Fort Sumter has been diligently 
employed by yourselves, so that before you could 
be driven out of your earthworks you will be able 
to capture the fort which commands them"; and, 
January 20, ''The occurrence of the Star of the West 
seems to me to put you in the best condition for 
delay, so long as the Government permits that 
matter to rest where it is. Your friends here think 
you can well afford to stand still, so far as the pres- 
ence of a garrison is concerned, and if things con- 
tinue as they are for a month, we shall then be in a 
condition to speak with a voice which all must hear 
and heed." ^ Nor can it be reconciled with the 

^ Contemporary opinion, National Intelligencer, January 14, 
186 1. ^ DsLvis, Confederate Government, I., 200-202. 

^ Crawford, Fort Sumter, 263-265. 


action of such men as Senators Wigfall and MaL 
lory, who bristled with telegrams and advice to the 
secession leaders in the South, crowned as such ac- 
tion was by that of Floyd and Thompson in the 

In weighing Davis's statement one must consider 
his peculiarly sophistical mental make-up. No man 
could more easily deceive himself. He could con- 
stantly declare himself no disunionist while instigat- 
ing secession in the strongest terms. A memorable 
instance is a speech of 1858, in which he said: 
''Neither in that year [1852], nor in any other, have 
I ever advocated a dissolution of the Union, or a 
separation of the State of Mississippi from the 
Union, except as the last alternative. ... I hold 
. . . that whilst occupying a seat in the Senate, I 
am bound to maintain the Government of the 
Constitution, and in no manner to work for its de- 
struction; that the obligation of the oath of office, 
Mississippi's honor and my own, require that as a 
Senator of the United States, there should be no 
want of loyalty to the Constitutional Union." * In 
almost the next words of this speech he is able to 
declare that if an abolitionist be chosen president 
(and the w^ord abolitionist in the southern view 
included every Republican), whether by the House 
of Representatives or by the people, the state of 
Mississippi should provide for its safety outside the 

^ Daily Mississippian, November 15, 1858, quoted by Nicolay 
and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., 210. 



Union, and as when I had the privilege of address- 
ing the Legislature a year ago, so now do I urge 
, you to the needful preparation to meet whatever 
I contingency may befall us" by the establishment of 
I an arsenal for the manufacture and repair of arms. 
I And by January 5, 1861, we find him doing that 
! which ''his oath, Mississippi's honor and his own," 
j demanded he should not do. 

i There was at least one beneficial result of the 
mission of the Star of the West, in the resignation of 
the secretary of the interior, Thompson, January 
7, and that of Thomas, of the treasury, January 11. 
The former was guilty of traitorous action in send- 
ing information to Charleston of the mission of the 
Star of the West. He offered the excuse that honor 
compelled him to keep promise with a friend,* as if 
such promise could take precedence of his oath of 
office and his duty to the government of which he 
was a minister! The resignation of Thomas was 
forced by information from Wall Street to the 
president, that not a dollar would be forthcoming 
until he should place men in the cabinet upon 
whom the Union could depend.^ John A. Dix, 
then postmaster at New York, was named by a 
meeting of leading men as one whose appointment 
would be required. The president offered him the 
war department, of which until now Holt was only 
acting secretary; but Dix, knowing that the under- 

* Thompson's letter, National Intelligencer, January 11, 1861. 
^ Dix, Dix, I., 362. 


standing of the meeting mentioned was that he 
should be secretary of the treasury, declined. The 
resignation of Thomas was then, January 11, 
placed in the hands of the president. Dix was 
appointed the next day, and Holt confirmed at 
the same time as secretary of war, the vacancy in 
the department of the interior remaining unfilled. 
There was an immediate reversal of the attitude of 
the money power; the ominous financial deadlock 
was at once broken, and the government put in 
possession of the funds it so much needed.^ 

From the time of his appointment to the end of 
the administration, Dix was a resident of the White 
House. How different an atmosphere was brought 
into it is shown in his action regarding the revenue- 
cutters at the Gulf ports. On January 18 he sent 
a treasury official to New Orleans with orders to 
provision the cutters and send them to New York. 
January 29 he received a despatch advising him 
that the captain of the McClelland refused to obey 
the order. Dix at once sent a telegram ordering 
his arrest and the command to be turned over to a 
lieutenant. The despatch ended with a phrase 
which was to become a Unionist watchword: "If 
any one attempts to haul down the American flag, 
shoot him on the spot." ^ Notwithstanding, how- 
ever, the two cutters at New Orleans remained in 
secessionist hands, and were burned a year later to 
prevent their falling into the hands of Farragut. 

* Dix, Dix, I., 362, 363. 2 Ibid.y 371. 



(January, i86i-February, i86i) 

THE long show of diplomatic etiquette caused 
by the visit of Hayne had one break, in the 
occupancy, by Lieutenant vSlemmer and his com- 
pany of fort3^-eight men, of Fort Pickens, a large 
and important work at the western end of Santa 
Rosa Island, which forms the south side of the 
extensive bay of Pensacola. Slemmer acted under 
orders of the war department, of January 3, 1861, 
to do his utmost to prevent the seizure of either of 
the forts in Pensacola harbor by surprise or assault, 
issued when the president found himself in a more 
courageous spirit through the resistance to the 
South Carolina commissioners. With the assistance 
of the gun-boat Wyandotte and store-ship Supply, 
after spiking the guns at forts Barrancas and McRee, 
and destroying ten tons of powder by pouring it 
into the sea, he transferred the rest of the powder 
and stores during January 9, 10, and 11.^ But the 
Pensacola navy -yard, seven miles west of the town, 
with its great store of guns and other material, was 
^ War Records, Serial No. i, pp. 334-336. 


sacrificed under circumstances to deserve the deep- 
est condemnation, no attempt at resistance being 
made to the three or four hundred Florida miHtia 
who appeared January 12, two days after the seces- 
sion of the state, at the yard gates, although there 
was at the yard a guard of forty marines and some 
sixty other men who could have been armed, be- 
sides the steamer Wyandotte, with a crew of sixty 
men and an armament of four 3 2 -pounders, and 
the ship Supply, with a crew of thirty-five, a force 
ample, supported as it was by the Wyandotte's guns, 
to repel any number of militia brought against it.^ 

Equal culpability and foll}^ was shown by the 
secretary of the navy, who did at last act, but too 
late. For many weeks a strong squadron had been 
lying at Vera Cruz, for the protection of American 
interests, including the steamer Powhatan, flag-ship, 
the steam-gunboat Pocahontas, the sailing frigates 
Sabine and Cumberland, and the sloop-of-war St. 
Louis, It was not until December 24 that orders 
were issued for the St. Louis, and January 5 for the 
Sabine, to proceed to Pensacola. With the slow 
mail service of the day, it was not until January 2 1 
that the orders were received by Commodore Pender- 
grast, who at once despatched the two ships, but, 
under instructions, retained the most useful and 
necessary of all, the Powhatan, whose mere presence 
would have held the place beyond the possibility 
of attack. Had orders been sent to Vera Cruz by 
^ Naval War Records, IV., 16-56. 

i86i] CONFEDERACY 249 

the Wyandotte even so late as January 3, the 
Powhatan could have been in Pensacola by Janu- 
ary 10, the sailing distance being but eight hundred 
miles. The president's spasm of energy lasted, 
however, sufficiently to enable orders to be given, 
January 21, 1861, for the Brooklyn to carry from 
Fort Monroe to Fort Pickens Captain Vogdes's com- 
pany of artillery, with orders for Vogdes to take 
over the command at Pickens, " as well as that of 
other forts and barracks which it may be in your 
power to occupy and defend, with the co-operation 
of any naval commander or commanders at hand, 
though it is understood that Fort Barrancas and 
probably Fort McRee are already in the hands of 
the seceders." But a postscript nullified the whole 
spirit of the order : You are to imderstand that you 
are not to attempt any reoccupation or recapture 
involving hostile collision, but that you are to con- 
fine yourself strictly to the defensive." ^ 

Ex-President Tyler, who had but just arrived in 
Washington as one of the commissioners from Vir- 
ginia to the ''Peace Conference," heard, January 
25, of the despatch of the Brooklyn, and at once 
sent a note to the president questioning him in the 
matter. He received reply that the Brooklyn was 
"on an errand of mercy and relief," and that her 
movement was in no way connected with South 
Carolina. But this was not enough for the self- 
constituted secession committee of senators. Not 
* War Records, Serial No. i, p. 352. 


knowing the passive orders given, there was in the 
Brooklyn's errand a possibiHty in their minds of a 
reoccupation of the Pensacola navy-yard, an easy 
task for such a ship ; and Senator Mallory was hur- 
ried there to arrange that nothing should occur. 
All happened as they desired. Despite his repeated 
declarations that he would make no pledge, which 
he had but repeated in his message of January 28 
commending the Virginia resolution to Congress, 
the president, on January 29, gave orders in a de- 
patch signed by both the secretary of war and the 
secretary of the navy that, **In consequence of the 
assurances received from Mr. Mallory in a telegram of 
yesterday to Messrs. Slidell, Hunter, and Bigler . . . 
that Fort Pickens would not be assaulted, and an 
offer of such an assurance to the same effect from 
Colonel Chase for the purpose of avoiding a hos- 
tile collision, upon receiving satisfactory assurances 
from Mr. Mallory and Colonel Chase [commanding 
the Florida forces] that Fort Pickens will not be 
attacked you are instructed not to land the com- 
pany on board the Brooklyn unless said fort shall 
be attacked or preparations shall be made for its 
attack. The provisions necessary for the supply of 
the fort you will land. . . . The commissioners of 
different States are to meet here on Monday, the 
4th February, and it is important that during their 
session a collision of arms should be avoided. . . . 
Your right ... to communicate with the Govern- 
ment by special messenger, and its right in the 

i86i] CONFEDERACY 251 

same manner to communicate with yourselves and 
them, will remain intact as the basis on which the 
present instruction is given." * 

How one - sided was the truce will be seen by 
the preparations continued at Charleston, where 
batteries were strengthened and extended, a float 
built carrying a battery protected with railway 
iron, and, while the place was rendered unattack- 
able by any force at the government's command, 
and the eventual fate of Sumter made certain, the 
now powerful naval force off Pensacola, reinforced 
by the Brooklyn, the frigates Macedonian (ordered 
from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, January 5), 
Sabine, and St. Louis, idly looked on the desolate 
sand-beaches which mark the entrance to Pensacola 
Bay, which it had but to enter, and the navy-yard, 
with its hundreds of guns, later to go to arm 
the batteries of Port Hudson and Vicksburg, would 
have been again in possession of the United States 
government. The hands of the president were in- 
deed tied, but by himself. 

On February 4, 1861, the delegates of six states 
— South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, 
Georgia, and Louisiana — met at Montgomery, Ala- 
bama. The states had passed ordinances of seces- 
sion in the order named; the first, December 20, 
i860; the others, January 9, 10, 11, 19, and 26, 
1 86 1. The delegates were apportioned as were the 
senators and representatives in the Congress of the 
^ Naval War Records, IV., 74. 


Union, but voting by states as units. The date of 
meeting had been advanced from February 15, on 
a resolution of the Mississippi legislature of Janu- 
ary 29, urged by the governor of South Carolina; 
and it is "another evidence of the secret and swift 
concert of secession leaders, that in six days there- 
after the delegates" of every cotton state but 
Texas (which was represented provisionally Feb- 
ruary 14) were thus assembled/ Howell Cobb, of 
Georgia, was elected permanent chairman. As it 
was impossible that it should remain, with any 
efHcacy, as a convention, it was determined that it 
should declare itself, on its own authority, the 
congress of a provisional government; and it thus 
exercised for the time all the functions of govern- 
ment, executive as well as legislative. In the 
opinion of Alexander H. Stephens, the congress, 
taken all in all, was "the ablest, soberest, most in- 
telligent and conservative body" he ''was ever in. 
. . . Nobody looking on would ever take this Con- 
gress for a set of revolutionists." ^ 

Four days after the convention assembled a 
''Constitution for the Provisional Government of 
the Confederate States of America"^ was adopted, 
a speed which again indicated the intimate work- 
ing together of the leaders. 

^ Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., 197. 
2 Johnston and Browne, Stephens, 392. 

^ See Davis, Confederate Government, I., 640-648; compared 
with U. S. Constitution, Am. Annual Cyclop., 1861, p. 155. 

i86i] CONFEDERACY 253 

The next day the officers and members of the 
congress were sworn to support the provisional 
constitution, and proceeded to elect a president. 
States had one vote each, and Jefferson Davis re- 
ceived the whole six; Alexander H. Stephens was 
elected vice-president. A considerable number had 
favored Howell Cobb and Toombs, both of Georgia, 
and particularly the latter, for the presidency. 
Toombs is stated to have been the choice of the 
South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, and possibly 
the Alabama delegations, and in the opinion of 
Stephens had qualifications for the presidency su- 
perior to those of any other connected with the 
secession movement. His name was, however, not 
brought forward in the convention, apparently 
through a misunderstanding as to the preference of 
Georgia for Cobb.^ The laws of the United States 
in force November i, i860, which were not incon- 
sistent with the provisional constitution were con- 
tinued; committees were appointed on all principal 
subjects, and also a committee of two from each 
state to report a permanent constitution, which was 
submitted to the states a month later. 

Though Mississippi had seceded January 9, Flor- 
ida on the loth, and Alabama on the nth, and 
in their own theory were foreign countries, it was 
not until January 21 that the senators from these 
states received official notification ; and meanwhile 

^Johnston and Browne, Stephens, 389-391; Stephens, War 
between the States, II., 329-333. 


they defiantly retained tlieir places in the Senate. 
Davis, January 21, took leave in a speech of much 
pathos and sensibility/ and left for home shortly 
after. It was there that he received the news of 
his election as president of the newly organized 
Southern Confederacy, news which, he mentions, 
surprised and disappointed him. He had, he says, 
thought himself ''better adapted to command in 
the field, and Mississippi had given me the position 
which I preferred to any other — the highest rank 
in her army." He regarded the presidency as tem- 
porary, and expected ' ' soon to be with the army of 
Mississippi again." On his way to Montgomery, 
and while waiting for the train at Jackson, the 
capital of the state, he met Chief -Justice Sharkey, 
who was looking for him to ask if he believed there 
would be war. Davis's "opinion was freely given, 
that there would be war, long and bloody, and that 
it behooved every one to put his house in order." ^ 
The organization of the machinery of the Con- 
federate government proceeded rapidly. Executive 
departments were created, and by March 7 an 
army of 100,000 men was authorized; bills were 
passed for a loan of $15,000,000, payable in ten 
years at eight per cent., for which an export duty 
after August i, 1861, of one-eighth of a cent per 
pound on cotton was pledged; all questions be- 
tween the states of the Confederacy and the United 

^ Alfriend, Jefferson Davis, 225-230. 
^ Davis, Confederate Government, I., 230. 


' 1861] CONFEDERACY 255 

States as to forts and other property were taken 
over; a declaration was made, February 15, that 
''immediate steps should be taken to obtain pos- 
session of forts Sumter and Pickens," and author- 
izing President Davis to carry the resolution into 
effect; the United States tariff of 1857 was con- 
tinued in force, and a national flag adopted. 

President Davis was inaugurated February 18, 
with all the pomp and ceremony attainable in the 
small town which was the temporary capital. In 
his inaugural speech he claimed the right of seces- 
sion as undeniable, and denied that it was revolution ; 
he announced that if '*we may not hope to avoid 
war, we may at least expect that posterity will ac- 
quit us of having needlessly engaged in it. Doubly 
justified by the absence of wrong on our part and 
by wanton aggression on the part of others, there 
can be no cause to doubt that the courage and 
patriotism of the people of the Confederate States 
will be found equal to any measures of defense which 
honor and security may require." ^ He declared re- 
union neither practicable nor desirable. 

President Davis appointed in his cabinet Robert 
Toombs, of Georgia, as secretary of state; C. G. 
Memminger, of South Carolina, secretary of the 
treasury; L. P. Walker, of iVlabama, secretary of 
war; S. R. Mallory, of Florida, secretary of the 
navy; J. H. Reagan, of Texas, postmaster-general; 

^Stephens, War between the States, II., 340-344; Alfriend, 
Jefferson Davis, 241. 


and Judah P. Benjamin, of Louisiana, as attorney- 
general. To negotiate friendly relations and to set- 
tle all questions of disagreement between the Con- 
federate States "and their late confederates of the 
United States in relation to the public property 
and the public debt," as called for by Article VI. of 
the provisional constitution, Davis appointed A. B. 
Roman, of Louisiana, Martin J. Crawford, of Geor- 
gia, and John Forsyth, of Alabama, with plenary 
powers for such adjustment. 

The permanent const ittit ion, adopted March 11 
(but W'hich did not go into force until 1862), fol- 
lowed closely the phraseology of the Constitution of 
the United States. The essential differences were as 
f ollow^s : legislative powers were delegated, not grant- 
ed ; the word slaves was used instead of other per- 
sons; any judicial or other federal officer resident 
and acting solely within the limits of any state 
might be impeached by a vote of two-thirds of both 
branches of the legislature; congress could grant 
to the heads of the executive departments seats 
upon the floor of either house, with the privilege of 
discussing any measures pertaining to their depart- 
ments; the president could approve any appropria- 
tion and disapprove any other appropriation in the 
same bill; no bounties could be granted or pro- 
tective duties laid; congress could not appropriate 
money for internal improvement except for aids to 
navigation, improvement of harbors, and removal 
of obstructions in river navigation; to defray the 




costs and expenses of these, duties were to be laid 
on the navigation facilitated; the importation of 
slaves, except from the slave -holding states or terri- 
tories of the United States, was forbidden; and con- 
gress was also given the power to prohibit the intro- 
duction of slaves from any state not a member of, 
or any territory not belonging to, the Confederacy; 
no law denying or impairing the right of property in 
negro slaves could be passed ; no duty could be laid 
on exports except by a vote of two-thirds of both 
houses; no appropriation of money could be made 
unless asked and estimated for by heads of depart- 
ments, and submitted to the president; all bills 
were to specify the exact amount of each appropria- 
tion; every law must relate to but one subject, 
expressed in the title ; the president and vice-presi- 
dent were to hold office for six years, but the 
president was not re-eligible ; all civil officers of the 
executive departments could be removed by the 
president when their services were unnecessary, or 
for certain sound reasons, and, when so removed, the 
removal, except in the case of principal executive 
and diplomatic officers, was to be reported to the 
senate with the reasons therefor ; new territory could 
be acquired, and, in all such, negro slavery as it ex- 
ists in the Confederate States was to be recognized 
and protected by congress and by the territorial 
government, and the inhabitants of the Confed- 
erate States and territories had the right to take 
slaves to such territory; when five states should 

VOL. XIX.— 17 


have ratified the constitution it should take ef- 

This constitution was, in some respects, a distinct 
advance upon our own. i. In enabling heads of 
departments to have seats upon the floor of either 
house, and the privilege of discussing any measures 
affecting their several departments — a privilege en- 
joyed during the provisional congress, but never 
confirmed by statute under the "permanent" gov- 
ernment. (Stephens would have gone further, and 
have required that they should be selected from the 
senate and the house. ^) 2. In enabling the presi- 
dent to disapprove appropriation bills in part. 3. In 
prohibiting bounties or protective legislation. 4. In 
limiting money appropriations, except by a two- 
thirds vote of both houses, to those asked for by 
the heads of departments. 5. In making the term 
of office of the president six years and making him 

But the constitution was stamped throughout 
with slavery. It was a direct throwing-down of the 
gauntlet before the civilized world, and a placing of 
the Confederacy across the road by which all oth- 
er nations were travelling towards humane dealing 
and recognition of the inherent right of every man, 
in the words of Lincoln, *'to eat the bread without 
the leave of anybody else, which his own hands 
earn." ^ Stephens had foreseen this outcome, and 

^ Johnston and Browne, Stephens, 395. 

^ Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, XL, 149. 




one ground of his opposition the previous year to 
secession was that he foresaw that the policy was not 
to leave the way open to the admission of some of 
the non-slave-holding states; thinking some of the 
western commimities would be so inclined. He 
urged that "We should be known as the 'Black 
Republic,'" and as such should be without sym- 
pathy from any of the world outside/ 

The organization of the Confederate government, 
in February, transferred the question of Sumter 
from Charleston to Montgomery. Toombs, then 
acting, and later to be actual, secretary of state of 
the Confederacy, wrote the governor of South Caro- 
lina not to attack "without the sanction and juris- 
diction of our joint Government." ^ The governor 
pressed the necessity of attack at the earliest pos- 
sible moment, and it was to avoid this action that, 
February 12, a resolution was passed by the Mont- 
gomer}^ congress taking over "all questions and 
difficulties . . . relating to the occupation of forts 
. . . and other public establishments." State sus- 
ceptibilities entered keenly into the question, and 
the South Carolina authorities chafed at leaving 
action in hands other than their own. When Gov- 
ernor Pickens was informed by telegraph of this 
move, he replied, February 13, at length as to the 
right of the state to act, and said that he was satis- 
fied that the welfare of the new confederation, as 

^ Johnston and Browne, Stephens, 392. 
2 Crawford, Fort Sumter, 266. 


well as the necessities of the state, required "that 
Fort Sumter should be reduced before the close of 
the present administration at Washington. ' ' Pickens 
held that if action be so taken, "Mr. Buchanan 
cannot resist, because he has not the power. Mr. 
Lincoln may not attack, because the cause of quar- 
rel will have been, or may be considered by him, as 
past." 1 

Though but few of the southern leaders, in the 
earlier stages of secession, could bring themselves 
to think war even possible, they had now come to 
a clear view of its imminency and even certainty, 
unless the commissioners sent to Washington should 
succeed in negotiating an agreement. Beauregard, 
who had resigned from the United States service 
February 8, and was now a brigadier - general in 
the provisional army of the Confederacy, was thus 
summoned to Montgomery, February 22, and was 
ordered thence to Charleston to report to the gov- 
ernor of South Carolina for military duty in that 
state; he was authorized to receive not over five 
thousand men into the service of the Confederacy. 
He arrived at Charleston March 3, inspected the 
several works, including the floating battery, and 
on the 6th, by authority of the departments of war 
of both the Confederacy and the state of South 
Carolina, assumed command of all the forces now 
organized in South Carolina, amounting to ten 

* Pickens to president of provisional congress, Journal of 
Congress of Confederate States, L, 56-580 





regiments with 8835 rank and file/ Beauregard, in 
his report to Walker, the Confederate secretary of 
war, detailing the arrangement and armaments of 
the batteries, said: "If Sumter was properly gar- 
risoned and armed, it would be a perfect Gibraltar 
to anything but constant shelling night and day 
from the four points of the compass. As it is, the 
weakness of the garrison constitutes our greatest 
advantage, and we must, for the present, turn our 
attention to prevent it from being re-enforced." ^ 

Work on the batteries commanding Fort Sumter 
was vigorously progressing, and fairly accurate ac- 
counts of its progress were sent almost daily to 
Washington by Anderson and Foster, the engineer 
officer.^ Anderson asked, February 16, the course 
it would be proper for him to take if, without a 
declaration of war, he should see the floating bat- 
tery approaching the fort.^ The secretary of war 
informed him, February 23, that he held Sumter as 
he had held Moultrie, under the verbal orders com- 
mtinicated by Major Buell December 11; he was 
ordered to remain strictly on the defensive as a 
redemption of the implied pledge to Hayne in the 
letter written by the secretary on behalf of the 
president. The news that the question of the forts 
had been taken over by the Confederate congress, 
and that the decision would probably be preceded 
in its settlement by negotiation with the Govern- 

* War Records, Serial No, i, pp. 260, 265-267. 

^ Ibid., 26. ^ Ibid., 158-195. ^ Ibid., 175. 


ment of the United States, has impressed the Presi- 
dent with a belief that there will be no immediate 
attack on Fort Sumter, and the hope is indulged 
that wise and patriotic counsels may prevail and 
prevent it altogether. The labors of the Peace 
Congress have not closed and the presence of that 
body here adds another to the powerful motives 
already existing for the adoption of every meas- 
ure, except in necessary self-defense, for avoiding a 
collision with the forces that surround you." ^ 

Simultaneous with Beauregard's arrival at Charles- 
ton was the advent of Crawford, one of the Confed- 
erate commissioners, at Washington. He at once 
wrote Toombs that he would have nothing more 
to do with Buchanan, because "his fears for his 
personal safety, the apprehension for the security 
of his property, together with the cares of State 
and his advanced age, render him wholly disquali- 
fied for his present position. He is as incapable 
now of purpose as a child." ^ This same impres- 
sion was made upon a distinguished financier of 
New York, who came to Washington on the presi- 
dent's request, for consultation on the national 
finances, and found the unfortunate president anx- 
ious chiefly about his investments.^ February 28, 
Anderson was informed by the war department 
that the Confederate commissioners were expected, 

* War Records, Serial No. i, p. 182. 
^ Crawford, Fort Sumter, 316. 

^Alexander Duncan, personal statement to author. 




and that "The Secretary [of war] entertains the 
hope that nothing will occur now of a hostile 
character." ^ 

One can but wonder at the extraordinary blind- 
ness of the administration of which such documents 
are evidence; for Secretary Holt was not one of 
those who condoned in any wise the action of the 
South; and the press of the country called for 
action throughout the whole of this early period. 
How completely Buchanan had now yielded to the 
impression that matters might still be adjusted is 
shown by a spirit which it is scarcely too harsh to 
term grovelling, in countermanding the customary 
parade of the troops on Washington's birthday. 
The rumor of a plot to seize the capital caused 
the transfer, at the instigation of General Scott, of 
several companies from Fort Monroe, which, with 
those already at hand, made a force of nearly seven 
hundred regular troops. Scott had made careful 
arrangements for all contingencies, and the city was 
regarded as safe from an attack of which baseless 
rumors were afloat.^ So much does imagination 
enhance men's fears that it was even supposed that 
the official presidential count might be interfered 
with; but this passed, February 13, with perfect qui- 
etude, and Vice-President Breckinridge announced 
Lincoln as the elected president. 

As usual on Washington's birthday, the troops 

* War Records, Serial No. i, p. 187. 

^ House Reports, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 79. 


were intended to form part of the usual parade of 
February 22, and the orders for the arrangements 
were published, when Ex-President Tyler, president 
of the Peace Convention, intervened and influenced 
Mr. Buchanan to give orders, late in the evening 
of February 2 1 , to the secretary of war to counter- 
mand the parade. This, coming next morning to the 
knowledge of Representative Daniel E. Sickles, who 
had introduced a resolution for the observance of 
the day, caused Sickles to call upon and remonstrate 
with the president, who then requested the secretary 
of war to again add the regular troops to the militia, 
the appearance of which the order had not affected ; 
and the parade, shorn somewhat of its proportions 
through want of time to restore the arrangements, 
took place. ^ 

^ Crawford, Fort Sumter, 273-275. 



(January, i86i-February, i86i) 

THE attitude of the border states, and particu- 
larly that of Virginia, was a question of mo- 
mentous interest. The influence of Virginia was 
still great, especially in the South, where the great 
traditions of the state, blood relationship, and the 
common bond of slavery gave her easy primacy. 
Washington, Jefferson, and Madison were not in 
such a distant past but that there were still some 
living men who had known them all. Though the 
state had sunk to much less than the second rank 
politically and commercially, the glamour of her an- 
cient ascendency still remained. Reversing Mar- 
shal Lefevre's dictum concerning himself, she was 
truly a descendant, no longer an ancestor. John 
Brown's attempt at Harper's Ferry had been used 
to arouse the blood of the state, which had acted 
upon Wise's call in his message of December 5, 
1859, to "organize and arm"; half a million was 
voted for arms in the winter of 185 9-1 860; muskets 
were distributed, volunteer companies formed, and 


the antiquated militia organization brought into 
such working order as it was capable of. 

Leaving aside about sixteen thousand votes cast 
for Douglas and 1929 for Lincoln, the remaining 
vote of the state (about 149,000) had been almost 
equally divided between Bell and Breckinridge, the 
former having but 218 plurality. While strongly 
Unionist in general, the sympathy of the state was 
warmly southern, except in the northwest counties, 
where every other feeling gave way before that for 
the Union. Union meetings were held in nearly 
every part of the state, but more especially in the 
valley of Virginia and ''across the mountains" in 
what is now West Virginia. In the latter region, talk 
of secession was not tolerated, and it was not long 
before threats of separation in case the state should 
secede became too frequent to be lightly regarded. 

The Virginia legislature met January 7, 1861, in 
extra session. Governor Letcher, in his message, 
charged the non-slave-holding states with the re- 
sponsibility for affairs; declared that any attempt 
of Federal troops to pass through Virginia for the 
purpose of coercing a southern state would be re- 
pelled, and advised that New England and west- 
ern New York be "sloughed off" and allowed to 
ally themselves with Canada.^ Although he op- 
posed a state convention, one was called for Feb- 
ruary 4, also the date of the meeting of the Con- 
federate provisional congress. 

^ National Intelligencer, January, 8, 1861. 


The resolutions passed by the legislature of New 
York, January 11, tendering the president "what- 
ever aid in men and money may be required to en- 
able him to enforce the laws and uphold the au- 
thority of the Federal Government," * were ordered, 
January 17, by the Virginia legislature, to be re- 
turned to Governor Morgan of that state, with an 
expression of indignation with the policy of co- 
ercion thus countenanced. On this same day, in 
the lower house, an amendment bringing up the 
right, and the present policy, of secession was lost by 
96 to 36. In the state senate, however, a resolution 
that, if efforts to reconcile differences should prove 
abortive, "every consideration of honor and in- 
terest demands that Virginia shall unite her des- 
tinies with her sister slave - holding states," was 
passed unanimously. January 23 was passed an 
appropriation for one million dollars for the defence 
of the state. As indicative of the influence of the 
environment of Congress, ten of the Virginia mem- 
bers of Congress at this time sent an address de- 
claring that it was "vain to hope for any meas- 
ures of conciliation and adjustment from Congress 
which the people of Virginia could accept"; and 
that it was the design of the Republican party to 
coerce the southern states under the pretext of en- 
forcing the laws.^ 

The Virginia convention met at Richmond, Feb- 
ruary 13, with 152 delegates. Of these only twenty- 

^ Am. Anniml Cyclop., 1861, p. 519. ^ Ibid., pp. 729, 730. 


five were classed as secessionists,* but not more than 
six were ''actual submissionists — that is, men in 
favor of the preservation of the Union under any 
and all circumstances." ^ Kentucky, though Gov- 
ernor Magoffin was in close affiliation with his seced- 
ing colleagues, would have no convention ; Governor 
Hicks, of Maryland, was firm in resisting a call of 
the legislature, and state sentiment gradually crys- 
tallized in favor of the Union. 

In North Carolina the convention bill provided 
also for putting at the time of the election of dele- 
gates the question whether or not there should be a 
convention. In the 90,000 votes cast there was a 
majority of 651 opposed. Of the 120 delegates 
elected, but 38 were secessionists. In Tennessee 
the election, February 9, showed a strong Union 
majority in every part of the state and a majority 
of nearly 12,000 against holding a convention. 
The election in Missouri gave a Union majority of 
80,000, and not a secession delegate was chosen. 
Even in Arkansas, in the election of delegates to a 
convention, the Union majority was 5699.^ 

The action of the Virginia legislature, January 
19, in calling what came to be known as the Peace 
Conference, strengthened the influence of Hayne 
and his senatorial advisers to continue the truce 

^ Tyler, Tylers, II., 621. 

^Richmond Whig, February 8, 12, quoted by Rhodes, United 
States, III., 309. 

^ Am. Annual Cyclop., 1861, pp. 22, 395, 443, 538, 677. 


with regard to Sumter. The resolution extended 
an invitation to all states willing to unite with 
Virginia in an earnest effort to adjust the present 
unhappy controversies in the spirit in which the 
Constitution was originally formed" to meet in 
Washington, ''to consider, and, if practicable, to 
agree upon some suitable adjustment." The basis 
proposed was the Crittenden resolution, with the 
first article modified to apply to all territory ''now 
held or hereafter acquired" south of latitude 36° 
30', and to protect slavery therein during the con- 
tinuance of territorial government, and with a new 
provision that slave-owners should have the right 
of transit with their slaves through non- slave-hold- 
ing states and territories.^ Ex-President Tyler and 
Judge Robertson, the latter already a commissioner 
of peace to the seceding states, were appointed 
to request President Buchanan to agree to abs- 
tain, pending the proposed proceedings, "from any 
and all acts calculated to produce a collision of 
arms." Tyler, on this errand, met Buchanan Jan- 
uary 24, and the latter promised to refer the mis- 
sion of the former to Congress, with a recommen- 
dation "to avoid the passage of any hostile leg- 

South Carolina's answer to Virginia's proposal 
was complete and emphatic. January 28, on the 
reception by the legislature of the governor's mes- 
sage transmitting the resolution, it was resolved 
^ Am. Annual Cyclop., 1861, p. 178. 


that it was not deemed ''advisable to initiate ne- 
gotiations, when they had no desire or intention to 
promote the ultimate object in view" ; that the sep- 
aration of the state was final, and that she had "no 
further interest in the Constitution of the United 

The Peace Convention met February 4, with rep- 
resentatives from fourteen states — New Hampshire, 
Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, 
Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North 
Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa; delegates 
from Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, 
Tennessee, Missouri, and Kansas were shortly add- 
ed, so that about two-thirds of the states of the 
whole Union were represented. The convention, in 
the character of its 153 delegates, was in every way 
worthy of the impressiveness and importance of its 
object. But the very terms of its call, the in- 
structions of many of the legislatures appointing 
delegates, as well as the heterogeneous views of the 
members, made any valuable result impossible. 

The convention was organized by the unanimous 
election of Ex-President Tyler as chairman, who 
made a rhetorical opening address destitute of any 
thought or suggestion, except to lament that the 
Constitution should not have arranged for a con- 
vention every fifty years to amend and reform it. 
In all questions each state was to have one vote. 

^ National Intelligencer, Jannary 29, 1861; resolutions of leg- 
islature, S. C. Exec. Docs., No. 4; Crawford, Fort Sumter, 245. 


Immediately after organization, resolutions sent in 
by the several states, to be considered by the con- 
ference, were laid before it. Massachusetts author- 
ized its seven commissioners ''to confer with the 
General Government or with the separate States, or 
with any association of delegates from such States," 
and report their doings. Rhode Island directed her 
commissioners to meet such "as may be appointed 
by other States, ... to consider, and, if practicable, 
to agree upon some amicable adjustment of the 
present unhappy national difficulties upon the basis 
and in the spirit of the Constitution." New York 
resolved that it did not approve of the Virginia prop- 
ositions, but would not reject an invitation hold- 
ing out the possibility of an honorable settlement. 
New Jersey declared the Crittenden propositions ac- 
ceptable, and earnestly urged their support upon 
its senators and representatives. Pennsylvania de- 
clared that no reasonable cause existed for the ex- 
traordinary excitement, and, while willing to unite 
with Virginia in the effort to restore peace, did not 
desire any alteration or amendment of the Consti- 
tution ; she would unite in the adoption of any con- 
stitutional measures to secure a more faithful ob- 
servance of the second section of the fourth article 
of the Constitution regarding the privileges and im- 
munities of the citizens of the several states and the 
return of fugitive slaves. Delaware was ready to 
sacrifice " all minor considerations on the altar of the 
Union." Ohio, while not prepared to assent to the 


Virginia proposals, and satisfied that a fair interpre- 
tation of the Constitution would amply provide for 
the evils complained of, was induced by a sincere de- 
sire to adjust all differences to appoint a commission 
as requested. The views of Indiana and Illinois were 
similar to those of Ohio. Missouri's delegates were 
"to endeavor to agree upon some plan of adjust- 
ment" which would "secure the honor and equal 
rights of the slaveholding States." The instruc- 
tions of Kentucky and Tennessee were practically 
framed upon the Crittenden resolutions.^ 

The committee of one from each state brought 
in a report, February 15, which was discussed and 
amended tmtil February 26. The most important 
section, relating to slavery in the territories, was 
passed, after previous failure, by but one vote. 
The general purport of the seven sections submitted 
as a thirteenth amendment to the Constitution^ was 
less favorable to the South than the Crittenden 
propositions; and this, combined with the want of 
anything approaching unanimity, and the certainty 
that it would not be regarded with general favor, 
north . or south, made its defeat a certainty. It 
suffered from like opposition to that against the 
Crittenden compromise; there were those of both 
sides who would have no compromise. 

On February 27, the day the report of the con- 
vention was transmitted to Congress, two letters 

* Am. Annual Cyclop., 1861, pp. 564, 565. 
2 Senate Misc. Docs., 36 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 20, 


were read in the Senate by Powell, of Kentucky, 
from Bingham and Chandler, the senators from 
Michigan, to the governor of the state; the former 
regarded the conference *'as another effort to de- 
bauch the public mind, and a step towards obtain- 
ing that concession which the imperious slave 
power so insolently demands." The latter said: 
"Governor Bingham and myself telegraphed you, 
... at the request of Massachusetts and New York, 
to send delegates to the peace or compromise Con- 
gress. They admit that we were right and that 
they were wrong; that no Republican State should 
have sent delegates. ... I hope you will send stiff- 
backed men or none. The whole thing . . . will end 
in thin smoke. Still, I hope as a matter of courtesy 
to some of our erring brethren, that you will send 
the delegates." In a postscript he added: "Some 
of the manufacturing States think that a fight 
would be awful. Without a little blood-letting 
this Union will not, in my estimation, be worth a 
rush." Chandler's reply to the reading was an 
iteration of the sentiments of the letter.^ In the 
last hours of the session, Crittenden, after a pathetic 
speech, brought forward the resolutions of the 
Peace Conference ; but with such a feeling prevalent 
among the Republicans, there was no hope. It re- 
ceived but seven votes, of which two were those of 
Crittenden and Douglas.^ 

However much the failure of the Peace Conven- 

* Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 1247. ^ Ibid., 1405. 

VOL. XIX. — iS 


tion and of the Crittenden compromise was in accord 
with the wishes of the leaders in Congress, the coun- 
try at large was bitterly disappointed. Hope had 
run high, in the border states particularly, and the 
continuance of ''palaver," as it was termed by 
Lowell,^ did much to withhold these states from 
precipitate action. Many of the public men, of 
whom Crittenden and Powell were excellent types, 
were strongly Unionist, and it was true of the border 
population in general, as has been said of the people 
of Kentucky, that they "almost without exception 
shrank from a dissolution of the Union with a real 
horror."^ But they were torn by a conflict of 
emotion that those farther north could not feel; 
the severance of the Union meant to them the 
severance of nearly all the ties, social and sympa- 
thetic, which bound them with other states. It 
cost much more, from every point of view, to be a 
Union man in the southern border-land than it did 
in Massachusetts or Michigan. 

The president was about to give up his now so 
unpleasant office. Seven states had declared them- 
selves out of the Union and had formed a new and, 
as it proved, an effective governmental organization. 
Every fort south of Virginia had been seized, with 
the exception of Sumter, Taylor (Key West), Jeffer- 
son (Tortugas), and Pickens, at Pensacola. Nine- 
teen sea-coast fortifications, which had been built 

* Atlantic Monthly, VII., 758 (June, 1861). 
2 Shaler, Kentucky., 235. 





! at a cost of about seven million dollars, and armed 

I with over thirteen hundred guns, were thus in pos- 
' session of the secessionists. All had been occu- 
pied without resistance, as, with the exception of 

' those still retained by the government, the only 

II force was a fort -keeper or a few workmen; it was 
[ but necessary to walk in and the place was theirs/ 
i Very few of the forts seized were, even if garrisoned, 

in a condition for any defence against attack by 
men-of-war; Pulaski, at Savannah, had but half its 
1 armament; and Clinch, Cumberland Sound, Florida, 
! was in no condition even for occupancy. Ship Isl- 
\ and, designed for one of the most important defences 
' of the South, had no guns, and was not yet in readi- 
ness for any. General Beauregard reported, Febru- 
' ary 13, to the military board of Louisiana that forts 
Jackson and St. Philip, the passage of which was 
later to make Farragut famous, could be passed 
by any steamer in broad daylight.^ Seven arsenals 
had been seized, with over two hundred thousand 
muskets, many of the highest standard, and with 
a large quantity of heavy ordnance. The value of 
the property at the ordnance depot at San An- 
I tonio, Texas, alone, was twelve hundred thousand 
j dollars. 

The situation in this last state was one of special 
aggravation. The department of Texas had been 

j ^ For list, condition, etc., see War Records, Serial No. 122, pp. 
47-51 ; also House Reports, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 85. 
2 War Records, Serial No. i, p. 501. 


placed in command of General Twiggs only in No- 
vember, i860. He asked almost immediately after 
his arrival what was to be done with the army 
property in case of the secession of Texas. ''My 
course," he said, ''as respects myself will be to re- 
main at my post and protect this frontier as long as 
I can, and then, when turned adrift, make my way 
home, if I have one." The inquiry in this letter (of 
December 13) was repeated two weeks later. An 
answer to his first, from General Scott, had gone the 
same day the second was written. It contained no 
advice, but left everything in Twiggs's hands, "in 
full confidence" of his discretion and patriotism. 
January 15 he asked to be relieved, as he must fol- 
low his native state, Georgia. The war depart- 
ment now proceeded to act, and on January 28, 
Holt now being secretary, orders were despatched 
relieving Twiggs and placing Colonel Waite in 
command. But the order was too late. February 
9, Twiggs, at San Antonio, ordered a commission of 
three officers "to meet the commissioners on be- 
half of the Convention of the People of Texas, . . . 
to transact such business as relates to the disposi- 
tion of the public property upon the demand of the 
State of Texas." Formal sessions were held to 
discuss the questions involved, until February 16, 
when the invasion of San Antonio by armed bodies 
of Texans, who seized the property of the United 
States, made such further action useless, and the 
record of these extraordinary proceedings to that 




date were submitted to the commanding general. 
The next day the convention committee made a 
formal demand for the surrender of all posts and 
property, to which Twiggs acceded, provided that 
the troops should retain their arms, clothing, sub- 
sistence, etc., and such means of transportation as 
might "be necessary for an efficient and orderly 
movement of the troops from Texas, prepared for 
attack or defense against aggression from any 
source," which was accepted/ The result was one 
of the few displays of energy made by this un- 
happy administration. Twiggs was dismissed, by 
order of March i, ''for his treachery to the flag of 
his country." ^ But the fault was primarily with 
the administration itself; Twiggs's pleas for instruc- 
tions had passed unheeded. He had under his 
command a force of 2479 officers and men, which, if 
concentrated, could probably have held the whole 
state. Scattered as they were over a vast extent, 
the individual posts were powerless. This General 
Scott, as well as every officer in the war depart- 
ment, knew, but no step was taken, not an intima- 
tion given as to action. The supineness, the folly, 
shown go far to support the theory of the necessity 
of an occasional war to revamp the human mind 
and character. 

* War Records, Serial No. i, pp. 503-514. ^ Ibid., 597. 



(December, i86o-February, i86i) 

LINCOLN, after his election, remained at home 
in such quiet as the anxiety of friends regard- 
ing his own course would allow. No period of this 
wonderful man's career exhibits more complete 
greatness than that of this trying four months' 
waiting to take up the burden which day by day 
was being made heavier by those who, under a 
more reasonable system, should have surrendered 
their authority as soon as possible into the hands 
now made responsible for the government of the 

Lincoln clearly defined his course in a letter of 
December 21, i860, which is of the utmost impor- 
tance as showing his mind to have been long made 
up, and that any apparent want of decision later 
was due to the influence of his cabinet. Thanking 
Washburn for an account of an interview with Gen- 
eral Scott, he says: "Please present my respects to 
the general, and tell him, confidentially, I shall be 
obliged to him to be as well prepared as he can 
to either hold or retake the forts, as the case may 


require, at and after the inauguration." * December 
1 7 he wrote Thurlow Weed, whose paper, the Albany 
Evening Journal, had strongly leaned to compromise, 
of the character of that brought forward by Critten- 
den: "My opinion is that no State can in any way 
lawfully get out of the Union without the consent 
of the others ; and that it is the duty of the President 
and other government functionaries to run the ma- 
chine as it is." ^ He steadily resisted any compro- 
mise in Congress, and equally and against very strong 
pressure refused to make any special announcement 
of his views, holding, in his own words: I could say 
nothing which I have not already said, and which is 

in print, and accessible to the public If I thought 

a repetition would do any good, I would make it. 
But in my judgment it would do positive harm. 
The secessionists per se, believing they had alarmed 
me, would clamor all the louder." ^ 

In nothing does Lincoln appear to better ad- 
vantage than in an admirable, frank, and wise let- 
ter to Gilmer, of North Carolina, in response to a 
similar request, December 15, i860: he disclaimed 
any thought of recommending the abolition of 
slavery in the District of Columbia, or the slave- 
trade among the slave states; he had never in his 
life thought of the question of the employment of 
slaves in arsenals and dock-yards ; as to patronage 

' Lincoln, Works (ed. of 1894), I,, 660. 
2 Ibid." 

' Lincoln to Paschal, in ibid., 655. 


in the slave states, he did not expect to inquire as 
to the politics of the appointee or whether he owned 
or did not own slaves. " I intend in that matter to 
accommodate the people in the several localities, 
if they themselves will allow me to accommodate 
them. In one word, I never have been, am not 
now, and probably never shall be in a mood of 
harassing the people either North or South. On 
the territorial question I am inflexible. . . . On that 
there is a difference between you and us; and it is 
the only substantial difference. You think slavery 
is right and ought to be extended; we think it is 
wrong and ought to be restricted. For this neither 
has any just occasion to be angry with the other." 
He had never read one of the state laws regarding 
fugitive slaves, mentioned by Gilmer. " If," he says, 
"any of them are in conflict with the fugitive-slave 
clause, or any other part of the Constitution, I cer- 
tainly shall be glad of their repeal; but I could 
hardly be justified, as a citizen of Illinois or as 
President of the United States, to recommend the 
repeal of a statute of Vermont or South Carolina." ^ 
Early in December, Thtirlow Weed, regarded as 
the most astute politician of the day, and Seward's 
most intimate friend, was invited by Lincoln to 
Springfield for consultation as to the coming 
cabinet. With him also came Judge David Davis 
and Leonard Swett (both of Illinois), and all stayed 
for two days. Lincoln had ahead v decided to offer 
* Lincoln, Works (ed. of 1894), I., 659. 


the position of secretary of state to Seward, which 
he did in a wise and kindly letter of December S} 
Weed's account makes it clear, however, that Lin- 
coln had also practically made up his mind as to 
most of the others: Chase, of Ohio, for the treasury; 
Cameron, of Pennsylvania, for the war department; 
Welles, of Connecticut, for the navy; Blair, of 
Maryland, for postmaster-general; Bates, of Mis- 
souri, for attorney-general; only one place, that of 
secretary of the interior, was, apparently, tmdeter- 
mined, and for this Caleb B. Smith, of Indiana, was 
mentioned. Lincoln, in thus recognizing the varied 
elements which had gone to make Republican suc- 
cess, had acted on the principle which he had men- 
tioned in his letter to Seward just mentioned : " In 
regard to the patronage sought with so much eager- 
ness and jealousy, I have prescribed for myself the 
maxim, 'Justice to all'; and I earnestly beseech 
your cooperation in keeping the maxim good." 

Weed was eager for a representation in the cab- 
inet of at least two from the slave states, and 
named Henry Winter Davis, of Maryland; Botts, of 
Virginia; Gilmer, of North Carolina; and Peyton, of 
Tennessee, as men for v/hose loyalty imder the most 
trying circimistances he could vouch. Lincoln met 
half the demand in naming Bates, of Missouri, who 
was undeniably a fitting selection. He raised the 
objection of taking men from states which might 
secede, and made the pregnant remark that *'he did 
* Lincoln, Works (ed. of 1894), I., 657. 



not quite like to hear Southern journals and South- 
ern speakers insisting that there must be no 'co- 
ercion'; that while he had no disposition to coerce 
anybody, yet after he had taken an oath to execute 
the laws, he should not care to see them violated." 
Yielding to the united suggestion of his three vis- 
itors. Weed was commissioned to carry an offer of a 
cabinet post to Gilmer, which the latter declined on 
account of the attitude of his native state/ The 
vacant place went to Caleb B. Smith, of Indiana, 
who had from the first been in Lincoln's mind. 

Lincoln left Springfield February 11, timed to 
reach Washington February 23. The journey "em- 
braced two weeks of official reception by com- 
mittees, mayors, governors, and legislatures; of 
crowded evening receptions and interminable hand- 
shakings; of impromptu or formal addresses at 
every ceremony; of cheers, . . . and imposing pro- 
cessions and miles of spectators." ^ It was an ova- 
tion which indicated that the tide of northern feel- 
ing was rapidly rising, and that there would be no 
want of support to the incoming president. 

As he was leaving Springfield he made a short 
and touching address at the railway station, fine in 
thought, and in diction such as made Lincoln one of 
the great masters of our language. " I now leave," 
he said, " not knowing when or whether ever I may 
return, with a task before me greater than that 

^ Weed, Autobiography, chap. Ixii. 

2 Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., 291. 


which rested upon Washington, Without the as- 
sistance of that Divine Being who ever attended 
him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I can- 
not fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, 
and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, 
let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. 
To His care commending you, as I hope in your 
prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affec- 
tionate farewell." ^ 

The next day, February 12, addressing the legis- 
lature at Indianapolis, he defined "coercion" and 
"invasion," and gave a hint of the trend of his in- 
tention. "Would the marching of an army into 
South Carolina without the consent of her people, 
and with hostile intent toward them, be * invasion'? 
I certainly think it would; and it would be 'coer- 
cion' also if the South Carolinians were forced to 
submit. But if the United States should merely 
hold and retake its own forts and other property, 
and collect the duties ... or even withhold the 
mails from places where they were habitually vio- 
lated, would any or all of these things be 'invasion' 
or 'coercion'?" ^ 

It is clear that in his view the federation of the 
United States had become a nation, and that it 
was for the preservation of nationality that he was 
about to struggle. In the same speech he asked: 
"On what rightful principle may a State, being not 

* Lincoln, Works (ed. of 1894), I., 672. 
2 Ibid., 673. 


more than one fiftieth part of the nation in soil and 
population, break up the nation and then coerce 
a proportionally larger subdivision of itself in the 
most arbitrary way? What mysteriotis right to 
play tyrant is conferred on a district of cotintry 
with its people, by merely calling it a State? Fel- 
low-citizens, I am not asserting an}rthing; I am 
merely asking questions for you to consider." ^ In 
Cincinnati, February 12, he repeated a phrase of 
his speech made in the same city September 17, 
1859, addressed more particularly to Kentuckians, 
and now having a much weightier meaning: "We 
mean to treat you, as near as we possibly can, 
as Washington, Jefferson, and Madison treated you. 
We mean to leave you alone, and in no way to in- 
terfere with your institutions; to abide by all and 
every compromise of the Constitution." ^ Between 
this date and his arrival in Washington he made 
twenty -four speeches, some of but a few w^ords. 
His route included Columbus, Pittsburg, Cleveland, 
Buffalo, Albany, New York, Trenton, Philadelphia, 
and Harrisburg, and in each of the capitals of the 
states through which he passed he addressed the 

The last hours of Lincoln's journey were com- 
plicated by a sudden announcement of a plot to 
assassinate him as he passed through Baltimore in 
the night. Against his will, and conscious of the 

^ Lincoln, Works (ed. of 1894), I., 674. 
Ubid., 675. 


probable effect upon the public, he was induced to 
leave the party and travel the short remainder of 
the journey incognito. The step was justified by 
warnings which, whether well or ill based, were so 
authoritative as to leave no other proper course/ 
No untoward incident occurred, and at six o'clock 
on the morning of February 23 Lincoln reached 
Willard's Hotel in Washington. 

Calls were exchanged with President Buchanan. 
The Peace Conference, headed by their chairman, 
Ex-President Tyler, called in a body, in pursuance 
of a unanimous resolution. He received visits from 
Douglas and Breckinridge, from the mayor, the 
municipal council, and many high functionaries. 
To the mayor's address he made a felicitous reply, 
assuring all that he had not now, and never had, 
"any disposition to treat you in any respect other- 
wise than as my own neighbors. I have not now 
any purpose to withhold from you any of the ben- 
efits of the Constitution, under any circimistances, 
that I would not feel myself constrained to with- 
hold from my own neighbors." ^ 

The inaugural address should have assured the 
country that no mistake had been made in the 
selection of its new president ; it stands among the 
glories of Anglo-Saxon literature and thought, a 
witness to the possibilities of democracy. The de- 
feated Douglas held Lincoln's hat during the speech, 

^Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., chap. xx. ; Lamon, 
Lincoln, 512. 2 Lincoln, Works (ed. of 1894), I., 694. 


and the author of the Dred Scott decision adminis- 
tered the oath. The coming wreck of the theories 
with which their hves were bound up must have 
been visible to both. The most momentous declara- 
tion of the speech was as follows: "The power con- 
fided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess 
the property and places belonging to the government, 
and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond 
what may be necessary for these objects there will 
be no invasion, no using of force against or among 
the people anywhere. ' ' Touching upon the proposed 
amendment to the Constitution which had passed 
Congress, to the effect that the Federal government 
should never interfere with the domestic institutions 
of the states, including that of persons held to ser- 
vice, he said: "Holding such a provision to be im- 
plied constitutional law, I have no objection to its 
being made express and irrevocable." He ended 
with words which should have brought calm to any 
southern mind not distempered by passion. "In 
your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and 
not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. 
The Government will not assail you. You can have 
no conflict without being, yourselves the aggressors. 
You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy 
the Government, while / shall have the most solemn 
one to 'preserve, protect, and defend it.' " ^ 

Few souls in this world can have undergone a 

^ The speech, and Seward's proposed or accepted emendations, 
in Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, 111.^ 327-344. 


more dramatic and solemn hour than did Lincoln 
when he found himself a few hours later at the end 
of these four volcanic months, in the falling shades 
of a gloomy March day, in the White House, the 
guide and master, as he was soon to show himself, 
of his country's future. 

Next day, March 5, the names of the members of 
the cabinet, which were as forecasted during the 
visit of Davis, Swett, and Weed to Lincoln in De- 
cember, were confirmed by the Senate in extra 

A consultation of secessionist leaders was held 
March 4, immediately after the delivery of the in- 
augural address, at which were present Crawford, 
Garnett, Pryor, De Jarnette, Wigfall, and L. Q. 
Washington, who wrote to Walker: "We all put 
the same construction on the inaugural. . . . We 
agreed that it was Lincoln's purpose at once to at- 
tempt the collection of the revenue, to re-enforce 
and hold Fort Sumter and Pickens, and to retake 
the other places. He is a man of will and firmness. 
His Cabinet will yield to him with alacrity, I think. 
Seward has, of course, agreed to the inaugural, and 
the pretenses of his conservatism are idle. We be- 
lieve that these plans will be put into execution im- 
mediately. I learn five or six United States ships 
are in New York Harbor, all ready to start." He 
concludes: "There is a general concurrence in the 
opinion that if any attack is made on Sumter it 
should be by order of the Government of the Con- 



federate States and not by South Carolina alone." 
A postscript adds: I fear the present Virginia Con- 
vention will not pass an ordinance of secession un- 
less a collision or war ensues; then public feeling 
will force them to it." ^ 

* War Records, Serial No. i, pp. 263, 264. 


(March 4, i86i-April 12, 1861) 

LINCOLN found himself with a cabinet the great 
-/ majority of whom were incHned to give way 
before the storm and withdraw from Sumter. But 
their chief was of different mould from his pred- 
ecessor. He clearly saw, what apparently few, if 
any, of his cabinet were able to see, that to yield 
Sumter voluntarily would be to sacrifice the vantage- 
ground of his constitutional position, and throw upon 
the Federal government the onus of beginning a war 
or else admitting the independence of the Con- 
federacy. Lincoln saw, as every one now must see, 
that eventually war was in any case inevitable ; and, 
with the wisdom and firmness which made him one 
of the greatest of men, he determined that the 
South should not have the advantage of beginning 
it after its independence should have been recog- 
nized. Should the secessionists begin it now, the 
question of the constitutional right of secession 
would still be indeterminate, and the Union w^ould 
be in the undeniably constitutional position of de- 
fending its own. To hold Sumter at every hazard 

VOL. XIX. — 19 


was thus vital. From the beginning, every expres- 
sion by Lincoln upon the question showed his recog- 
nition of this necessity and his determination to act 
in accord with this conviction. 

The question was brought forward in an unex- 
pectedly acute phase by the reception at the war 
department, March 4, of a report from Anderson of 
February 28, that he had provisions for only about 
a month. Accompanying were separate opinions 
of the officers of the garrison as to the force nec- 
essary to relieve the garrison, varying from two 
thousand men, aided by a naval force, to Anderson's 
estimate of twenty thousand.* 

The startling fact was the shortness of provisions. 
The inaction of the previous administration and its 
ineptitude in the case of the Star of the West now 
bore their fruit. Time had worked for the seces- 
sionists both by strengthening their power of at- 
tack and by weakening the powers of the defence; 
not a gun need be fired to attain their object. Yet 
the situation could not be laid w^holly at the door 
of Mr. Buchanan and his recent cabinet. Anderson 
himself was largely responsible through his failure 
to support the Star of the West with his fire, through 
the establishment of the fatal truce, and through his 
repeated asseverations of safety. In answer to a 
private letter written him April 5, Anderson says: 
"Justice . . . compels me ... to take upon myself 
the blame of the Government's not having sent to 
* War Records, Serial No. i, pp. 197, 202. 



my rescue. Had I demanded reinforcements while 
Mr. Holt was in the War Department I know that 
he would have despatched them at all hazards. I 
did not ask them, because I knew that the moment 
it should be known here that additional troops 
were coming, they would assault me and thus in- 
augurate civil war. My policy, feeling — thanks be 
to God! — secure for the present in my stronghold, 
was to keep still, to preserve peace, to give time for 
the quieting of the excitement, ... in the hope of 
avoiding bloodshed. There is now a prospect that 
that hope will be realized, that the separation which 
has been inevitable for months, will be consimi- 
mated without the shedding of one drop of blood." ^ 
This letter reveals the fixed belief in Anderson's 
mind that secession must succeed, and his sense of 
responsibility for keeping it from swelling to the 
dimensions of war. Able, high-minded, patriotic as 
he was, he had no true conception of the mighty 
movement of which for the moment he was the 
pivot, nor was there any attempt on the part of the 
authorities at Washington to enlighten him. Nev- 
ertheless, the administration had its own means of 
judging the situation ; both Anderson's and Foster's 
reports as to the batteries were full and acctirate, 
and military men in Washington could forecast the 
outcome as well as Anderson himself. In reading 
between the lines it would seem that the authorities 
at Washington merely salved their consciences for 

Crawford, Fort Sumter, 290. 


inaction with the fact that no official documents 
had been put before them as to the impossibiHty of 
a lengthened resistance. But the thing was self- 
evident; Black's memorandum to Scott, January 16, 
covered the situation completely.^ 

Lincoln's own mind as to the course of action had, 
as we know from his message early in December to 
Scott, been long made up, and every utterance 
thereafter, whether public or private, including his 
inaugural address, showed that he had not swerved 
from his early intention. He thus referred the in- 
formation received March 4 back to General Scott 
for more thorough investigation, and transmitted 
to him through the secretary of war, as soon as the 
latter was in office, a memorandum draughted by 
himself, as follows: "I am directed by the President 
to say he desires you to exercise all possible vigilance 
for the maintenance of all the places within the 
military department of the United States, and to 
promptly call upon all the departments of the Gov- 
ernment for the means necessary to that end.'*^ 
But Lincoln was leaning upon a broken reed. Scott, 
who was now on terms of intimacy with Seward, to 
whom he apparently looked as the directive force 
of the nation, wrote, March 3, a letter which seems 
inspired by Seward,^ or at any rate was the out- 
come of a previous conversation. In it Scott said 

* See above, p. 235. 

2 Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., 379. 
^Bancroft, Seward, II., 96 n. 



to Seward: "I beg leave to repeat in writing what I 
have before said to you orally." Leaving un- 
touched the field of miHtary duties, the aged gen- 
eral became the politician advising conciliation; 
and he ended with, ''Say to the seceded States — 
Wayward Sisters, depart in peace 

Scott now gave an emphatic opinion that to re- 
lieve Simiter was impracticable. The president, 
March 9, asked him in substance : (i) To what point 
of time can Anderson maintain his position in 
Sumter? (2) Can you with present means relieve 
him within that time? (3) What additional means 
would enable you to do so ?" Scott replied that he 
would need a naval fleet and transports which could 
not be collected in less than four months, 5000 ad- 
ditional regular troops, and 20,000 volunteers. To 
raise, organize, and discipline such an army (not to 
speak of necessary legislation) would require from 
six to eight months. "As a practical military 
question, the time for succoring Fort Sumter with 
any means at hand had passed away nearly a 
month ago. Since then a surrender under assault 
or starvation has been merely a question of time." 
Scott also submitted the draught of an order for 
the evacuation of the fort.^ 

Postmaster-General Blair, however, knew of the 
proposal made by Fox in February, and March 12 

* Scott, Autobiography, II., 625-628. The italics are Scott's. 
^ Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., 379-381 ; War Rec' 
ords, Serial No. i, p. 197. 


sent the latter a telegram which brought him from 
New York to Washington the next day. Accom- 
panied by Blair, Fox at once went to the White 
House to lay his project before the president, 
whence, after its presentation, adjournment was 
made to General Scott's office, where a renewed 
discussion took place, Scott informing the president 
that, while the plan was practicable in Febru- 
ary, the increased number of batteries now made 
it impossible.* The outcome was a memorandum 
from the president to each member of the cabinet: 
''Assuming it to be possible to now provision Fort 
Sumter, under all the circumstances is it wise to 
attempt it?"^ Seward, Cameron, Welles, Smith, 
and Bates, in lengthy opinions filed March 15, were 
against it. The first argued the political issue at 
length. His paper is of great importance, as show- 
ing how fully Seward at the time was committed to 
the policy of non-resistance. Under the influence 
of the impression made upon him by the great 
Unionist vote of the South in November, he be- 
lieved that disunion stood upon an unreasoning 
popular excitement "arising out of a simple and 
harmless disappointment in a presidential election"; 
if it should find no new ailment, it would quickly 
subside; that ever3rwhere, even in South Carolina, 
there was a profound and permanent national senti- 

* Naval War Records, IV., 246. 

2 Lincoln, Works (ed. of 1894), II., 11-22; War Records, Serial 
No. I, p. 196. 



ment, which, if encouraged, could be relied upon to 
cause the seceding states to reverse their action. 
Conciliation which should deny to disunionists any 
new provocation was the true policy, and a perse- 
verance in that policy was the only peaceful means 
of assuring the continuance of the remaining slave 
states, or most of them, in the Union. He denied 
the usefulness of holding Sumter, even if it could be 
done: " I would not provoke war in any way now." ^ 

Cameron's reply, quoting that of Scott on the 9th, 
approved the latter 's conclusions, saying, ''As the 
abandonment of the fort in a few weeks, sooner or 
later, appears to be an inevitable necessity, it seems 
to me that the sooner it is done the better." ^ The 
reply of the secretary of war included several memo- 
randa and communications rehearsing the various 
plans submitted and the opinions; these were read 
by General Totten, chief of engineers, the author of 
one of very pessimistic character, before the presi- 
dent and cabinet. General Scott, Commodore String- 
ham, and Mr. Fox.^ 

Only two members of the cabinet. Chase and 
Blair, answered the president's inquiry affirmatively, 
and even the former hesitatingly on account of the 
financial difficulties in case of war. There was no 
doubt, however, in the opinion of Blair, who was 
supported in his views by his father, Francis P. 

* Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., chap, xxiii. ; Ban- 
croft, Seward, II., 99-101; Crawford, Fort Sumter, 348-353. 
^ War Records, Serial No. i,pp. 196-198. ^Ibid., 198-205. 


Blair, an intimate friend and counsellor of Jackson's.^ 
The powerful opposition of three-fourths of the cabi- 
net, of the general-in-chief , and of the whole of the 
war department could not but give Lincoln reason 
to ponder. 

Seward's extreme optimism, his belief that his 
own views would be those which must necessarily 
be adopted by Lincoln, his confidence that he was 
to be the leading spirit of the government, now led 
to the first of three extraordinary endeavors to 
usurp the direction of affairs, and caused him to 
place the administration in a false light. He even 
went so far when Senator Gwin showed him a 
telegram which he was about to send to Mont- 
gomery, mentioning Chase's appointment to the 
cabinet, declaring that the war policy was in the 
ascendant, and advising the South to look out for 
itself, that he substituted over Gwin's signature 
the statement that the outlook was peaceable and 
that matters had never looked so encouraging.^ He 
went still further by giving out to the press the in- 
formation that Fort Sumter would shortly be evac- 
uated, and requesting the editor of the National 
Intelligencer to communicate the fact to George 
W. Summers, "the recognized leader of the Union 
majority in the Virginia Convention." ^ 

All this was, of course, known to the Confeder- 

1 Crawford, Fort Sumter, 358-361. 

2 Gwin to Crawford, in ibid., 320. 

3 Welling, in Nation, XXIX., 383 (December 4, 1879). 


ate commissioners, of whom, through the arrival of 
Fors>^h, . there were now two in Washington. 
Himter, of Virginia, agreed to be their instrimient 
in estabhshing an imderstanding with the secretary 
of state, whom Himter found urgent for delay. 
While this was wholly in accord with the views of 
the Confederate authorities so long as the "military 
status should be maintained and no advantage 
taken of the delay," they w^ere desirous that their 
willingness should not appear. A memorandimi 
was prepared by the commissioners defining the 
terms upon which they "would consent to and 
stipulate for a brief respite." They agreed to post- 
pone the consideration of the subject of their mis- 
sion for twenty days on a positive pledge that the 
military status should be preserved in every re- 

It is not at all surprising, as reported by the com- 
missioners, that Seward "was perceptibly embar- 
rassed and imeasy" on Htmter's presenting the 
paper, March 11, and asking if he would consent to 
an informal interview, when it is imderstood that 
Scott received the same day instructions, of which 
Seward must have been aware, to issue orders to 
Vogdes to land his company of artillery at Fort 
Pickens. Seward informed Hunter that he must 
consult the president, and the next day, March 12, 
informed him by note that it was not in his power 

^ Confederate Correspondence, in U. S. Treasury Department, 
cited by Crawford, Fort Sumter, 322, 323. 


*'to receive the gentlemen of whom we conversed 
yesterday." The commissioners thereupon, March 
13, formally requested an official interview at an 
early day. No formal reply was made to this, but 
a memorandum, with instructions to furnish the 
commissioners a copy if called for, was placed in 
the files of the department, defining the position of 
the government and showing that the interview 
was declined/ 

Justice Nelson, of New York, and Justice Camp- 
bell, of Alabama, who had convinced themselves 
" that an inflexible adherence to a policy of modera- 
tion and of peace would inevitably lead to the res- 
toration of the Union," and were equally convinced 
of the unconstitutionality of any coercion, now ap- 
peared on the scene in an endeavor to urge their 
views. They finally recommended to the secretary 
of state to reply to the letter of the commissioners 
and announce the earnest desire of the government 
for conciliation and peace. Seward rose with a 
forcible gesture. I wish I could do it. See Mont- 
gomery Blair, see Mr. Bates, see Mr. Lincoln him- 
self ; . . . convince them — no, there is not a member 
of the cabinet who would consent to it. If Jeffer- 
son Davis had known the state of things here, he 
would not have sent those commissioners; the 
evacuation of vSumter is as much as the adminis- 
tration can bear." Seward authorized Campbell, 
on the latter 's request to know what he should say 
* In full in Moore, Rebellion Record, I., Doc. 47, pp. 42-44. 



to Davis, "to say that before that letter could 
reach him, he would learn by telegraph that the 
order for the evacuation of Sumter had been made." * 

Campbell now, March 15, had an interview for 
the first time with Commissioner Crawford, and 
urged upon him a delay of five days in demanding 
a response to the commissioners' note, as in that 
time he was confident Sumter would be evacuated. 
Crawford at once said: "You come from Seward; 
those are his views?" Campbell declined giving his 
authority, but said that "Justice Nelson was aware 
of all that I was, and would agree that I was justi- 
fied in saying to him what I did." ^ 

On Crawford's demand that the information 
should be in writing, Campbell drew up a note, 
which received the approval of Justice Nelson, who 
had also been in communication with the secretary 
of state, and, its contents having been communi- 
cated to the latter, it was given the commissioner, 
who at once advised the Confederate government. 
This note expressed perfect confidence that Sumter 
would be evacuated in the next five days, that no 
measure changing the status prejudicially to the 
Confederacy was at present contemplated, and that 
an immediate demand for an answer to the com- 
missioners would do evil. A delay "until the effect 
of the evacuation of Sumter could be ascertained — 

^ Davis, Confederate Government, I., 268; Campbell's account, 
in Crawford, Fort Sumter, 328. 

^ Campbell's account, in Crawford, Fort Sumter, 329. 


or at least for a few days, say ten days'* — was ear- 
nestly asked.* 

On the same day, March 15, the important cabinet 
meeting mentioned seemed to Seward to justify his 
sanguine hopes, as a large majority, as well as the 
general-in-chief and chief of engineers, were in favor 
of evacuation. Meantime the agreed five days of 
waiting passed; the commissioners learned by tele- 
graph from Charleston that there were no indica- 
tions of change at Sumter, and that work on the 
defences was still in progress. This word was car- 
ried by Campbell and Nelson to Seward, who assured 
them all was right, and arranged for an interview 
the next day. Campbell left with the commission- 
ers another reassuring note. The interview with 
Seward the next day, March 22, resulted in a ''full 
and satisfactory" conversation, in which Campbell 
was informed that the delay was accidental, and 
"that there was nothing in the delay that affected 
the integrity of the promise or denoted any inten- 
tion not to comply." The status of Pickens w^as 
not to be altered, or, if so, Campbell should be 
informed. Campbell thereupon left a third note 
with the commissioners, stating that he had un- 
abated confidence. Justice Nelson withdrew from 
the negotiations after March 22, and left Washing- 
ton. ^ 

^ Confederate Correspondence, in U. S. Treasury Department, 
cited by Crawford, Fort Sumter, 330; correspondence of Campbeil 
with Seward, in Moore, Rebellion Record, I., Doc. 267, pp. 427, 428. 

^ Crawford, Fort Sumter, 2)2)°-Z2)Z- 


Seward held to his views, and impressed the com- 
missioners with the idea that his will would be car- 
ried out ; he permitted himself to express his opinions 
freely to Stoeckl, the Russian minister, who carried 
them, March 24, to the commissioners in the state- 
ment that ''the peace policy would prevail in time, 
the Secretary thought, and the difficulties surround- 
ing him should be considered." ^ The Russian 
minister advised the commissioners that he thought 
Seward had been overruled in his policy, but this 
the commissioners did not believe; nevertheless, 
March 26, they advised the Montgomery govern- 
ment to make active preparations for defence, to 
display a strong force at Pickens in order to give 
the administration *'an excuse for evacuating that 
fort." They also stated that the Russian minister 
had that day told Seward that he need not hesitate 
to recognize the Confederacy, for the European 
powers would certainly do so.^ 

The Montgomery authorities were, of course, kept 
fully informed, and March 28 replied to the com- 
missioners that, while relying upon the representa- 
tions of Justice Campbell, the same confidence was 
not placed in the good faith and sincerity of those 
from whom Campbell drew his convictions. They 
were directed to urge with firmness the evacuation 
of all the forts in the Confederacy, and to ask an 

* Crawford, Fort Sumter, 334. 

2 Confederate Correspondence, in U, S. Treasury Department, 
cited in ibid., 335. 


explanation of the unusually large naval force now 
in the United States ports. ^ 

In the reflections of the Confederate authorities 
upon Campbell's source, injustice was done Seward, 
who, listening only to the promptings of his own 
mind, was perfectly sincere, however unwise. His 
ear at the moment was attuned to catch only such 
words as those of Douglas, who, in the Senate, 
March 15, was proclaiming that peace was "the 
only policy that can save the country or save your 
[the Republican] party," and was calling for the 
withdrawal of Anderson from Sumter as demanded 
by "duty, honor, patriotism, [and] humanity."^ 
Neither Douglas nor Seward, however, measured 
the mind of Lincoln or of the country. Wrote Dix 
to Buchanan, March 14: "The people are now agi- 
tated by the intelligence that Fort Sumter is to be 
abandoned. . . . The disappointment will be very 
great, and it will go far to turn the current against 
the new administration."^ And the true senti- 
ment of the Republican leaders in the Senate, still 
in extra session, was in the resolution offered March 
27 by Trumbull, of Illinois, "that . . . the true way 
to preserve the Union is to enforce the laws of the 
Union . . . that it is the duty of the President to 
use all the means in his power to hold and protect 

* Confederate Correspondence, in U. S. Treasury Department, 
cited by Crawford, Fort Sumter, 333. 
2 Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 1461. 
^ Curtis, Buchanan, II., 533. 


the public property of the United States and enforce 
the laws," as well in the seceding states as in the 

The commissioners asked, March 26, "whether 
we shall dally longer with a Government hesitat- 
ing and doubting as to its own course or shall we 
demand our answer at once?" To this Toombs 
replied, April 2, giving President Davis's views 
at length. ''He thought the policy of Mr. Seward 
would prevail. He cared nothing for Seward's mo- 
tive or calculations. So long as the United States 
neither declare war nor establish peace, 'it affords 
the Confederate States the advantage of both con- 
ditions, and enables them to make all the necessary 
arrangements for the public defense, and the solidi- 
fying of their Government, more safely, cheaply, 
and expeditiously than they could were the attitude 
of the United States more definite and decided.'" ^ 

Fox, with the president's permission, had left 
Washington, March 19, for Charleston, to look over 
the ground himself. He arrived on the 21st. 
Through a Captain Hartstene, formerly of the Federal 
navy, he was presented to the governor, and, after 
some demur, was allowed "expressly upon the 
pledge of 'pacific purposes' " ^ to proceed to Sumter, 
which he reached after dark, and where he remained 

^ Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 15 19. 

^ Confederate Correspondence, in U. S. Treasury Department, 
cited by Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., 413. 

^ Message of Pickens to legislature, November, 1 861, in Davis, 
Confederate Government, I., 272. 


about two hours. Fox reported that ''Anderson 
seemed to think it was too late to reUeve the fort 
by any other means than landing an army on Morris 
Island. He agreed with General Scott that our 
entrance from the sea was impossible; but as we 
looked out upon the water from the parapet it 
looked very feasible, more especially as we heard 
the oars of a boat near the fort, which the sentry 
hailed; but we could not see her through the dark- 
ness until she almost touched the landing. ... It 
was agreed that I might report that the 15 th of 
April at noon, would be the period beyond which the 
fort could not be held unless supplies were furnished. 
I made no arrangement with Major Anderson for 
reenforcing or supplying the fort nor did I inform 
him of my plan." ^ 

The insistence of Seward upon the existence of a 
strong Union feeling South caused at this same time 
with the consent of the president the visit to Charles- 
ton of S. A. Hurlbut, of Illinois (later a major-gen- 
eral of volunteers), ostensibly to see a sister, and of 
Ward H. Lamon, a former law partner of the presi- 
dent, who gave out that he was upon business for 
the post-office. The result was, so far as South 
Carolina was concerned, a complete denial of Sew- 
ard's views. Hurlbut met James L. Petigru, one 
of the most distinguished jurists of South Carolina 
and the only avowed Unionist of prominence. The 
result was Hurlbut 's report that there was " posi- 
* Naval War Records, IV., 247. 


tively nothing to appeal to." ^ Lamon, remaining 
in Charleston, obtained an interview with the gov- 
ernor as the confidential agent " of the president, 
and informed him, wholly without the authority of 
Lincoln, that he had come to * ' arrange for the re- 
moval of the garrison."^ He was sent to Sumter, 
accompanied by one of the governor's aides. He 
took his leave of Anderson after an hour and a 
half's interview, making an impression "upon 
Major Anderson, as well as upon the ofiicers and 
men of the garrison," that the command was to be 

On the return of Fox from Charleston, Lincoln 
became convinced that his scheme was feasible, and 
several times called Fox before the members of the 
cabinet, to whom he criticised the objections of the 
military authorities. He had the support of Com- 
modore Stringham, who confirmed his views in the 
presence of Scott, reinforcing them with those of 
Commodore Stewart, who had declared to String- 
ham that Sumter could be easily reinforced and 
provisioned by boats at night. ^ The president, 
March 28, caused Fox to prepare a memorandum 
for the war and navy departments directing the 
organization of the expedition. The same day Lin- 
coln was startled by a memorandum from General 

* Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., 390-392. 
^Governor's message, November, 1861, in Davis, Confederate 

Government, I., 272; Crawford, Fort Sumter, 2,1 A- 
3 Crawford, Fort Sumter, 374. 

* Naval War Records, IV., 247. 

VOL. XIX. — 20 



Scott, forwarded by the secretary, advising the 
evacuation of Pickens as well as Sumter, on the 
ground that as the abandonment of Sumter in a 
few weeks would appear to be a sure necessity, 
and as it was doubtful whether its voluntary evac- 
uation would have a decisive effect upon the states 
now wavering between Union and secession, and as 
continuing to hold Pickens would support the view 
of necessity, "our Southern friends . . . are clear 
that the evacuation of both forts would instantly 
soothe and give confidence to the eight remaining 
slave-holding States, and render their cordial adhe- 
rence to this Union perpetual." ^ 

Before the state dinner that evening (the first 
given by Lincoln) this memorandum was shown to 
the members of the cabinet, who were all present 
and were called into an adjoining room for consul- 
tation. Without any formal votes there was a 
unanimous expression of dissent from Scott's sug- 
gestion, and, under the president's request to meet 
in formal council the next day, the cabinet retired.^ 
At this meeting, March 29, there was a marked 
change of mind in the members, due to the per- 
sistency of Fox and his naval supporters; secre- 
taries Seward and Smith were now the only two 
who opposed the holding and provisioning of Sum- 
ter. The former said, in his memorandum: . . I 
do not think it wise to provoke a civil war begin- 

* War Records, Serial No. i, p. 200. 

* Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., 394. 




ning at Charleston and in rescue of an untenable 
position. Therefore I advise against the expedi- 
tion in every view. Second, I would call in Cap- 
tain M. C. Meigs forthwith. Aided by his counsel, 
I would at once, and at every cost, prepare for a 
war at Pensacola and Texas, to be taken, however, 
only as a consequence of maintaining the possessions 
and authority of the United States." ^ The mention 
of Meigs shows that Seward had already made up 
his mind to an extraordinary interference with the 
expedition upon which the president had determined. 

But Lincoln's resolve, shown in his directions to 
Fox the day previous, was not to be moved, and he 
signed, on the day of this meeting, an order to the 
secretary of the navy, which read as follows: ''Sir: 
I desire that an expedition to move by sea be got 
ready to sail as early as the 6th of April next, the 
whole according to memorandum attached; and 
that you cooperate with the Secretary of War for 
that object." The memorandum sent the navy de- 
partment was as follows: "The Pocahontas, at Nor- 
folk, Pawnee at Washington, and revenue cutter 
Harriet Lane at New York, to be ready for sea with 
one month's stores. Three hundred seamen to be 
ready for leaving the receiving ship at New York." 
That to the war department ran: "Two hundred 
men at New York, ready to leave garrison. One 
year's stores to be put in a portable form." ^ 

^ Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., 430. 
2 Naval War Records, IV., 228. 


The first steps had thus been taken when, March 
30, Justice Campbell came to the secretary of state 
with a telegram from the governor of South Caro- 
lina, giving to the Confederate commissioners the 
facts of Lamon's visit and his misrepresentations of 
the president's views. Campbell, April i, question- 
ing Seward, was told that ''the President was con- 
cerned at the contents of the telegram"; that the 
question involved a point of honor ; that Lamon had 
no commission or authority "nor any power to 
pledge him by any promise or assurance"; and so 
desirous was the president that Governor Pickens 
should be satisfied of this that Campbell was re- 
quested to question Lamon, who was in the next 
room. This Campbell declined to do, and, asking 
what he was to say as to Sumter, received from 
Seward a written memorandum to the effect "that 
the president may desire to supply Fort Sumter, 
but will not undertake to do so without first giving 
notice to Governor Pickens." "There is no inten- 
tion," said the secretary, "to reinforce it." Camp- 
bell now became apprehensive that the question of 
holding Sumter was still an open one, and he pressed 
for something more explicit. Seward replied, "I 
must see the president"; and on his return he mod- 
ified the paper to say, "I am satisfied the Govern- 
ment will not undertake to supply Fort Sumter 
without giving notice to Governor Pickens." ^ 
How completely Seward's unwise consultations 
* Campbell MS., cited by Crawford, Fort Sumter, 337-339. 


with Campbell had been in accord with Confederate 
wishes is shown by Campbell's correspondence with 
Davis. ''The great want of the Confederate States," 
says Campbell, " is peace." Mentioning that his own 
course would depend upon circumstances, he pro- 
posed continuing his present relation with the gov- 
ernment, and deferring his own final action ''until 
the chance of being of service at this critical period 
has terminated," for all of which he received Davis's 
cordial thanks.^ 

Seward's attitude convinced both Campbell and 
the commissioners that delay in evacuation, and 
only delay, was meant ; and Crawford, April i , wrote 
that they had secured "an explicit promise" that 
no hostile movement would be made, and that 
meanwhile the Confederate states "were not bound 
in any way" and were free to go on and organize 
their army and concentrate their forces at dis- 
cretion.^ Events, however, were moving much too 
forcibly to go unnoticed, and the commissioners, 
judging from a telegram from the secretary of war 
to Beaturegard, April 3,^ undoubtedly had informa- 
tion from subordinates within the departments. 
The commissioners thus forestalled the information 
in the peaceful letter of April i, by telegrams of re- 
ported movements of ships and troops. They re- 

* Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., chap, xxiii. 
^ Confederate Correspondence, in U. S. Treasury Department; 
cited by Crawford, Fort Sumter, 339. 
^ War Records, Serial No. i, p. 286. 


ported, April 5, that the preparation of "a formida- 
ble military and naval force is certainly on foot"; 
the same telegram said, "Having no confidence in 
the administration, we say, be ever on your guard." ^ 
Justice Campbell was requested to ask an explana- 
tion, w^hich he did April 7 ; the next day Campbell 
received an envelope containing a paper without 
date or signature, with the words, "Faith as to 
Sumter fully kept; wait and see; other suggestions 
received, and will be respectfully considered." ^ 

Governor Pickens, inundated with telegrams, tel- 
egraphed, April 7, wanting to know the truth of 
the report that Sumter was to be reinforced. The 
commissioners replied that they thought Simiter 
would be evacuated and Pickens provisioned; but 
Crawford telegraphed Beauregard the same day 
that they had no faith in the assurance given. ^ 
Crawford's doubts were amply justified ; for Lincoln 
had prepared, April 6, with his own hand, instruc- 
tions to Chew, a clerk of the department of state, to 
proceed to Charleston and inform Governor Pickens 
that an attempt would be made to supply Sumter 
with provisions only, and, if not resisted, no effort 
would be made " to throw in men, arms, or ammimi- 
tion" without further notice, "or in case of an 
attack upon the fort." If, on arrival, he should find 

^ Confederate Correspondence, in U. S. Treasury Department, 
cited by Roman, Beauregard, I., 34. 

^ Campbell MS., cited by Crawford, Fort Sumter, 340; Davis, 
Confederate Government, I., 273. 

' Crawford, Fort Sumter, 341. 


Sumter already evacuated, surrendered, or attacked, 
he was to return without seeking an interview.^ 

It was only now, April 8, when there was no 
longer room for doubt, that Seward's memorandum 
of March 15, declining to receive the commissioners, 
was called for by those gentlemen. The memo- 
randum, explicit and forcible in denial of the 
claims of the commissioners as representing an in- 
dependent power, brought from them next day a 
reply which accused the secretary of state of not 
meeting the issues they presented with "frankness 
and manliness," and saying, ''You are dealing with 
delusions . . . when you seek to separate our people 
from our government and to characterize the de- 
liberate, sovereign act of the people as a 'perver- 
sion of a temporary and partisan excitement.' If 
you cherish these dreams you will be awakened 
from them and find them as unreal and as unsub- 
stantial as others in which you have recently in- 
dulged." ^ 

Though the Federal administration has been 
severely attacked by Confederate authorities for 
want of honest dealing, the attack is unjust. The 
commissioners were the victims of Justice Camp- 
bell's belief in Seward as the actual head of affairs, 
which Seward thought himself to be. The presi- 
dent was unaware of Seward's assurance that Sum- 
ter would be evacuated, and never sanctioned the 

^ Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, IV., 34. 

2 In full in Moore, Rebellion Record, I., Doc. 51, pp. 49-51. 


statement/ One can understand Seward's extraor- 
dinary hallucination by reference to his equally ex- 
traordinary action in laying, April i , before Lincoln 
"Thoughts for the President's Consideration," so 
erratic in character as to be now scarcely conceiv- 
able. Seward practically proposed that he should 
take over the president's duties and direct the ad- 
ministration of the government, suggesting at the 
same time a foreign policy which could only have 
been fatal. Lincoln's reply, a model of kindliness, 
reserve, and power, settled the question of master- 
ship between them forever.^ 

The Powhatan returned, March 13, to New York 
from the Gulf, and was ordered out of commission 
for repairs only the day before the writing of the 
president's memorandum of March 28. The navy 
department telegraphed, April i, countermanding 
its order for repairs and ordering the ship to be 
ready for sea at the earliest possible moment, — a 
duty complicated by the fact that she had gone out 
of commission at 2 p.m. of that day, that her crew 
was transferred to the receiving- ship, and her offi- 
cers detached and mostly gone home on leave of 
absence. When it is understood that "going out 
of commission" means the detachment of all offi- 
cers, the transfer of the crew, the landing of stores, 
and the partial dismantling of the ship, it will be 

* Welles, Lincoln and Seward, 56. 

2 Lincoln Works (ed. of 1894), II., 29,30; Nicolay and Hay, 
Abraham Lincoln, III., 448. 



seen how much the delay by the navy department 
in sending its telegram meant. Captain Foote, the 
acting commandant, promised, however, by working 
day and night, to have the ship ready in foirr days. 

Orders w^ere issued, April 5, to Captain ]\Iercer of 
the Powhatan, placing under his command, for the 
purposes of Fox's expedition, the Powhatan, Poca- 
hontas, Pawnee, and Harriet Lane. If the authori- 
ties at Charleston should permit Sumter to be pro- 
visioned, the ships were to return north. Should 
they attempt to prevent the vessels with supplies 
from entering the harbor, Mercer w^as to protect 
them, "repelling by force, if necessary, all obstruc- 
tions towards provisioning the fort and reinforcing 
it ; for in case of resistance to the peaceable primary 
object of the expedition a reinforcement of the gar- 
rison will also be attempted." ^ The Powhatan fail- 
ed to accompany the expedition; the cause brings 
into startling prominence Seward's disregard of the 
president's views, and the fixedness of his own im.- 
pression that he was the true head of the adminis- 

On the evening of April i. Lieutenant David D. 
Porter was having his last dinner with his family 
prior to departure for New York to take the steamer 
for California, with the determination to resign and 
go into the employ of the Pacific J\Iail Steamship 
Company. A note from the secretary of state re- 
quested his presence. Arriving at the latter 's resi- 
^ Naval War Records, IV., 235. 


dence, he was asked if he could devise a plan by 
which Fort Pickens could be saved, and he opened 
out a plan, which he had already discussed with 
Captain Montgomery Meigs of the engineers, of 
taking a military force in a transport, convoyed by 
a ship-of-war, and landing them under the protec- 
tion of the latter 's guns. He proposed entering the 
harbor, supported by the other ships of the powerful 
naval force present, and engaging the Confederate 
batteries if necessary. Captain Meigs, who had but 
a short time before returned from duty as the en- 
gineer officer in charge of the works at the Dry 
Tortugas, and was much impressed with the neces- 
sity of holding the Gulf forts still in the hands of 
the United States authorities, had suggested sending 
for Porter. Meigs having joined the party, the three 
went to the White House and explained the plan, 
which the president thereupon adopted. It was 
decided that the Powhatan should be chosen, that 
Porter should command, "and that the orders 
should be issued directly by the President without 
the intervention of the Secretary of the Navy, and 
even without his knowledge. The President ex- 
pressed doubt as to the propriety of such a course, 
but being pressed by Mr. Seward, who reassured 
him on that point, with Porter's concurrence, he 
acquiesced and signed the necessary orders." ^ 

Probably none of the four knew of the orders 
already issued to the Powhatan, but this was no 
^ Soley, Porter, loi. 



extenuation of this gravely improper procedure; 
the secretary of the navy was quite as worthy of 
the president's confidence as any of the others, 
and it was in the power of the president as com- 
mander-in-chief to overrule Welles should he object 
to the use of the Powhatan, which imdoubtedly the 
latter would have done. The intense secrecy in- 
sisted upon has a bad look, and the whole proceed- 
ing reflects discredit upon all three of the men 
involved in misleading the president, but most of 
all upon the secretary of state. 

Orders were prepared by Porter, copied by Meigs, 
and signed by the president. The order to Porter 
was as follows : ' ' You will proceed to New York, and 
with the least possible delay assume command of 
any naval steamer available. Proceed to Pensacola 
Harbor, and at any cost or risk prevent any expedi- 
tion from the mainland reaching Port Pickens or 
Santa Rosa [island]. You will exhibit this order to 
any naval oflicer at Pensacola, if you deem it neces- 
sary after you have established yourself within the 
harbor, and will request cooperation by the en- 
trance of at least one other vessel. This order, its 
object, and your destination will be communicated 
to no person whatever until you reach the harbor 
of Pensacola. 

"Abraham Lincoln. 
"Recommended: Wm. H. Seward." 
The second order was to Captain Mercer, detach- 
ing him from the command of the PowhataUy as it 



was ' ' necessary to place in command . . . and for a 
special purpose, an officer who is duly informed and 
instructed in relation to the wishes of the Govern- 
ment. ' ' 

The third directed the commandant of the navy- 
yard at New York to fit out the Powhatan without 
delay. "Lieutenant Porter will relieve Captain 
Mercer in command of her. She is bound on secret 
service, and you will, under no circumstances, com- 
municate to the Navy Department the fact that 
she is fitting out." 

A fourth order, a commission of plenary powers 
to Porter, was also signed by the president. "Lieu- 
tenant D. D. Porter will take command of the 
steamer Powhatan, or any other United States 
steamer ready for sea, which he may deem most fit 
for the service to which he has been assigned by 
confidential instructions of this date. All officers 
are commanded to afford him all such facilities as 
he may deem necessary for getting to sea as soon as 
possible. He will select the officers who are to ac- 
company him." Again appeared the somewhat 
foolish subscription, "Recommended: Wm. H. 
Seward." ^ 

When Porter and Meigs left the White House, the 
former believed that he was to command an ex- 
pedition the main purpose of which was to recover 
the harbor of Pensacola.^ But Meigs had other 
views. The two went to Scott's headquarters to 

^ Soley, Porter, 102-104. ^Ibid., 105. 


arrange regarding the army force to be taken, but 
Porter "was refused admission and went home." 
He thus knew nothing of orders other than his own 
until he arrived at Pensacola. These other orders, 
signed by Scott, were countersigned "Approved" 
by the president the next day, and thus had full 
force as from the latter. They placed Colonel 
Harvey Browm in general command, and were ac- 
companied by a memorandum signed by the presi- 
dent and which must have been prepared the even- 
ing previous at Scott's headquarters, as it bore date 
April I. It was as follows: "All ofQcers of the 
Army and Navy, to whom this order may be ex- 
hibited, will aid by every means in their power the 
expedition under command of Col. Harvey Brown, 
supplying him with men and material and co- 
operating with him as he may desire." ^ One can 
well believe that had Porter been admitted to 
Scott's headquarters, and had he known the result 
of Meigs's visit there, he would have thrown up 
the command, have returned to his earlier inten- 
tion, and the navy would thus have lost one of its 
greatest officers. 

Although the commandant at the New York 
yard reported, April 4, a call by Captain Lleigs 
showing authority to have certain preparations 
made, it apparently had not attracted the atten- 
tion of the na\"y department. Not until April 6 
were matters understood by Welles, who at once 

^ War Records, Serial No. i, pp. 365-367. 



protested to the president. Lincoln immediately 
directed the return of Mercer to the Powhatan and 
the ship's restoration to her previous assignment. 
Though Seward remonstrated, and claimed that she 
was essential to reinforce Pickens, the president 
was decided, and ordered that a telegram be sent 
covering his directions, which reached the navy- 
yard at 3 P.M. The Powhatan had, however, left 
the yard at 2.30, preceded by the transports At- 
lantic and Illinois, with Colonel Brown, Captain 
Meigs, and the troops. A fast tug overhauled her 
at Sandy Hook and delivered the telegram. Un- 
fortunately this was signed by the secretary of 
state, reading as follows: "Give the Powhatan up to 
Captain Mercer. Seward." But Porter had the 
president's order; he was not subordinate to Sew- 
ard, and he was in nowise boimd to acknowledge 
his authority. He replied to Seward: ''I received 
my orders from the president and shall proceed and 
execute them." ^ The victory, such as it was, was 
thus still with Seward. 

The final result at Pensacola was a scandalous in- 
action. Brown, on April 17, the day after his ar- 
rival, wrote to Bragg, the Confederate comman- 
der, practically declaring a truce, and making any 
movement, whether of army or navy, impossible.^ 
Porter, on his arrival, April 17, at once proceeded to 
carry out his orders to "establish himself within the 

1 Soley , Porter, 1 1 o-i 1 2 . 

2 War Records, Serial No. i, p. 380. 


harbor," and was only prevented by the Wyandotte^ s 
placing herself, at Meigs's request, across the Pow- 
hatan's course. Brown's authority from the presi- 
dent of a later date could not be disputed, and 
Pensacola remained long in the hands of the Con- 
federates undisturbed, though Bragg 's report to his 
secretary of w^ar — ' ' I am not prepared with my bat- 
teries for an3rthing more than a feeble defense " ^ — 
shows how easily Porter would have succeeded. It 
is a sad history from the improper beginning to the 
thoroughly abortive end. 

The story is not complete without giving the re- 
sults of the Mohawk's mission, which, as mentioned, 
was sent March 12 from New York to Pensacola 
with orders to Vogdes to land his company from 
the Brooklyn. With the inefficiency so rife at the 
time, and with the general want of correlation, these 
orders were signed by General Scott only. The 
Mohawk arrived April i. Captain Adams, the 
senior naval officer, refused to recognize Scott's au- 
thority to set aside the truce, signed conjointly 
January 29 by the secretaries of war and of the 
navy, and Vogdes was not landed. A courier was 
sent by Adams to explain, who arrived at Wash- 
ington April 6. That same night Lieutenant (later 
Rear- Admiral) Worden left with verbal instructions 
I to Adams to land Vogdes and his men. He arrived 
' at Pensacola April 10, and, after some demur, was 
able to get out to the Sabine, the senior officer's 

1 War Records, Serial No. i, p. 457. 


ship, April 12. The troops were landed the same 
night without opposition. On Vogdes's request, 
Adams landed some of his marines, and held in 
readiness five hundred seamen and marines to go if 

Despite the conviction of the chief of engineers. 
General Totten, expressed in an elaborate paper of 
April 3 upon the situation at Sumter and Pickens, 
''that neither these measures nor any others now 
within our reach will in my opinion prevent the loss 
of Fort Pickens," ^ there was, after April 12, no dan- 
ger whatever; nor would there, with any display of 
energy and initiative, have been danger at any time. 
The despatch of the Powhatan was thus a perfectly 
useless measure unless Pensacola was to be taken, 
which it should have been, as Porter proposed and 
intended. Worden, it should be said, attempted to 
return by land, was taken prisoner and kept in con- 
finement seven months, returning in time to com- 
mand the Monitor in 1862. 

^ Meigs to Seward, in War Records, Serial No. i, p. 375. 
^ War Records, Serial No. i, pp. 232-235. 



(April, i86i) 

LAMON'S officiousness resulted in giving both to 
^ Anderson and to the Confederate authorities an 
impression that vSumter would surely be evacu- 
ated; hence Beauregard, March 26, wrote to Ander- 
son offering facilities for removal, but asking his 
word of honor that the fort would be left without 
any preparation for its destruction or injury. This 
demand deeply woimded Anderson, and he resented 
it in a letter of the same date, saying, "If I can 
only be permitted to leave on the pledge you men- 
tion, I shall never, so help me God, leave this fort 
alive." ^ Beauregard hastened to state that he had 
only alluded to the "pledge" on accoimt of the 
"high source" from which the rumors appeared to 
come, and made a full amend, which re-established 
their usual relations. 

Anderson had informed Fox that, by placing the 
command on a short allowance, he could make the 
provisions last tmtil after April 10 ; but not receiving 
instructions from the war department that it was 

^ War Records, Serial No. i, p. 222. 

VOL. XIX.— 21 


desirable to do so, it had not been done.* He had 
already reported, March 31, that his last barrel of 
flour had been issued two days before.^ 

Anderson's little command, as he explained to 
Washington April i, would now face starvation 
should the daily supply of fresh meat and vegetables, 
still allowed from Charleston, be cut off. Being in 
daily expectation, since the return of Colonel Lamon 
to Washington, of receiving orders to vacate the post, 
he had, to the great disadvantage of the food supply, 
kept the engineer laborers as long as he could. He 
now asked permission to send them from Sumter; 
but the request, referred to Montgomery April 2 by 
Beauregard, was refused, tmless all the garrison 
should go.^ 

April I an ice-laden schooner bound for Savannah 
entered Charleston harbor by mistake, and was fired 
upon by a Morris Island battery. Again the Sum- 
ter batteries were manned and a consultation held, 
at which five of the eight officers declared in favor 
of opening fire, but no action was taken by Ander- 
son beyond sending an officer to the offending bat- 
tery, from which word was returned by its com- 
manding officer that he was simply carrying out his 
orders to fire upon any vessel carrying the United 
States colors which attempted to enter. 

On April 4, Anderson assembled his officers, and 
for the first time made known to them the orders of 

* War Records, Serial No. i, p. 230. 

^ Ibid., p.-228. ^ Ibid., pp. 284, 285. 

i86i] .FALL OF SUMTER 323 

January 10 and February 23, directing him to act 
strictly on the defensive. As Lieutenant Talbot 
had just been promoted captain and ordered to 
Washington, Anderson determined to send by him 
his despatches. In order to arrange for his de- 
parture, Talbot, April 4, accompanied Lieutenant 
Snyder, under a white flag, to call the attention of 
the governor to the fact that the schooner fired 
upon had not been warned by one of their own ves- 
sels, as had been arranged. It developed that the 
guard-vessel on duty had come in on accotuit of 
heavy weather, and the commanding officer was 
consequently dismissed. The request to allow Tal- 
bot to proceed brought out the fact that orders 
had been received from Montgomery not to allow 
any portion of the garrison to leave the fort tinless 
all should go,^ — which, however, Beauregard con- 
strued, for the benefit of Talbot, to apply more par- 
ticularly to laborers and enlisted men,^ — and also 
that the following telegram from Commissioner 
Crawford had reached Charleston April i: "I am 
authorized to say that this Government will not 
imdertake to supply Sumter without notice to you. 
My opinion is that the President has not the cour- 
age to execute the order agreed upon in Cabinet 
for the evacuation of the fort, but that he intends 
to shift the responsibility upon Major Anderson by 
suffering him to be starved out. Would it not be 

* War Records, Serial No. i, p. 285. 
2 Crawford, Fort Suynter, 377. 



well to aid in this by cutting ofE all supplies?"' 
Beauregard had, the same day, sent the message 
to the Confederate secretary of v/ar, with the re- 
mark, " Batteries here ready to open Wednesday or 
Thursday. What instructions?" 

The knowledge of these telegrams called from 
Anderson, April 5, a pathetic despatch to the war 
department: "I cannot but think Mr. Crawford 
has misunderstood what he has heard in Washing- 
ton, as I cannot think the Government could aban- 
don, without instructions and without advice, a 
command which has tried to do all its duty to our 
country." He ended a fervent appeal for this act 
of justice with, "Unless we receive supplies I shall 
be compelled to stay here without food, or to aban- 
don this post very early next week." ^ ''At this 
time," says Doubleday, "the seeming indifference of 
the politicians to our fate made us feel like orphan 
children of the Republic, deserted by both the State 
and Federal administration." ^ 

Two days later Anderson received a letter of April 
4 from the secretary of war, informing him of the 
government's purpose to send the Fox expedition, 
and hoping that he would be able to sustain himself 
until the nth or i2th.^ The same day he was in- 
formed by the Confederate authorities that the sup- 
ply of provisions had been stopped, and late that 

* War Records, Serial No. i, p. 283. ^ Ibid., p. 241. 

2 Doubleday, Sumter and Moultrie, 98. 
^ War Records, Serial No. i, p. 235, 

i86i] FALL OF SUMTER 325 

evening that no mails coming or going would be 
allowed to pass. The fort was to be " completely 
isolated." This action was undoubtedly taken at 
this moment in consequence of a telegram from 
Washington sent Magrath April 6, as follows: 
Positively determined not to withdraw Anderson. 
Supplies go immediately, supported by naval force 
under Stringham if their landing be resisted." This 
telegram, signed *'A Friend," was, as later became 
known, from James E. Harvey, who was about to 
go as United States minister to Portugal. It was 
sent to Montgomery and had its full effect.* 

Just before the reception of the information re- 
garding the stoppage of mails, Anderson had posted 
his acknowledgment of the war department's letter 
of the 4th and a report by Foster to the chief-engi- 
neer of the army; both letters were opened by the 
Confederate authorities, and gave full confirmation 
of the accuracy of the telegram from "A Friend." 
Anderson said that "the resimiption of work yester= 
day (Sunda}^ at various points on Morris Island, 
and the vigorous prosecution of it this morning, 
. . . shows that they have either received some news 
from Washington which has put them on the qui 
vive, or that they have received orders from* Mont- 
gomery to commence operations here. I fear" that 
Fox's attempt "cannot fail to be disastrous to all 
concerned. . . . We have not oil enough to keep a 
light in lanterns for one night. The boats will have 
* Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, IV., 31, 32. 



therefore to rely at night entirely upon other marks. 
I ought to have been informed that this expedi- 
tion was to come. Colonel Lamon's remark con- 
vinced me that the idea merely hinted at to me by 
Captain Fox would not be carried out. We shall 
strive to do our duty, though I frankly say that my 
heart is not in the war which I see is to be thus 
commenced." * 

As shown by despatches which Anderson had no 
means of sending, and carried north, eight guard- 
boats and signal- vessels were on duty out far beyond 
the bar; a fourth gun had been added to the new 
battery on Sullivan's Island, which had until the 
8th been masked by a house now torn down, and 
which bore directly upon any boat attempting to 
land stores on the left bank. There was bread 
enough to last, using half -rat ions, until dinner-time 
Friday (12th). Anderson reported the command in 
fine spirits. It was evident that a hostile force was 
expected. The iron-clad floating battery appeared 
the morning of the nth at the west end of Sulli- 
van's Island. Anderson, in ignorance that his 
own intercepted letter and Harvey's telegram had 
given them all they needed to know, said: "Had 
they been in possession of the information con- 
tained in your letter of the 4th instant they could 
not have made better arrangements than these they 
have made and are making to thwart the con- 
templated scheme." ^ 

* War Records, Serial No. i, p. 294. 2 Ji){d., pp. 249-251. 

i86i] FALL OF SUMTER 327 

Chew, who, as mentioned, had been selected as 
the messenger to carry to Charleston the notice of 
the president's intention to attempt to provision 
Siimter, left Washington Saturday, April 6, at 6 
P.M., in company with Captain Talbot, and reached 
Charleston forty-eight hours later; finding no ac- 
tion taken against Sumter, he delivered a copy of 
his memorandum to the governor, who called Gen- 
eral Beauregard into the consultation. Captain 
Talbot's request to join the garrison at Sumter was 
referred to Beauregard, and peremptorily refused, 
Beauregard remarking the instructions from Mont- 
gomery required that no commimication whatever 
should be permitted with Anderson except to con- 
vey an order for the evacuation of the fort.^ The 
return of the envoys to Washington was much de- 
layed by disarrangement of trains by order of 
Beauregard, who also held all telegrams from Chew 
to Lincoln. 2 

Sumter now mounted fifty-nine guns, twenty- 
seven of the heaviest of which were in barbette (the 
upper and open tier). In the lowest tier there were 
also twenty-seven, four of which were 42 -pounders 
and the remainder 32's. The ports of the second 
(or middle tier), eight feet square, were closed by 
a three-foot brick wall, laid in cement and backed 
in twenty-seven of the more exposed by two feet of 
,sand kept in place by planks or barrels. On the 

^ Talbot's report, in War Records, Serial No, i, p. 251. 
2 Roman, Beauregard, I., 33. 


parade were one 10 -inch and four 8 -inch guns, 
mounted as howitzers, the former to throw shells 
into Charleston, the latter into the batteries on 
Cummings Point. The guns bearing upon the three 
batteries on the west end of Sullivan's Island were 
ten 32-pounders; on Fort Moultrie, two 43-pound- 
ers. Five guns bore upon the mortar battery at 
Fort Johnson. Seven hundred cartridges had been 
made up, material of every kind, even the woollen 
shirts of the men, being used.^ 

Bearing upon Fort Sumter there were on Sulli- 
van's Island three 8-inch, two 32-pounders, and six 
24-pounders in Fort Moultrie; two 32-pounders and 
two 24-pounders in the new enfilade battery; one 9- 
inch, two 4 2 -pounders, and two 32-pounders at the 
Point and aboard the floating battery, and six 10- 
inch mortars; on Morris Island, two 4 2 -pounders, 
one 1 2 -pounder Blakely rifle, three 8-inch guns, and 
seven 10 -inch mortars; at Fort Johnson, one 24- 
pounder and four 10 -inch mortars; at Mount 
Pleasant, one lo-inch mortar: a total of twenty- 
seven gims and eighteen mortars.^ The latter were 
particularly to be feared, as mortar fire under the 
conditions of a fixed target and perfectly estab- 
lished distances is extremely accurate. The in- 
terior of the fort was thus as vulnerable as the ex- 

Governor Pickens at once sent to Montgomery a 

^ War Records, Serial No. i, pp. 12-25, 213-216. 
^ Ibid., pp. 25-58. 

i86i] FALL OF SUMTER 329 

telegram reporting the visit of the president's mes- 
senger. A lengthy discussion ensued in the Con- 
federate cabinet. Toombs, the secretary of state, 
said: "The firing upon that fort will inaugurate a 
civil war greater than any the world has yet seen; 
and I do not feel competent to advise you." ^ In 
the state of southern feeling, however, the only 
thing possible was for Secretary Walker to order 
Beauregard, April 10, "If you have no doubt of 
the authorized character of the agent who com- 
municated to you the intention of the Washington 
Government to supply Sumter by force, you will at 
once demand its evacuation, and if this is refused 
proceed, in such manner as you may determine, to 
reduce it." ^ Beauregard answered the same day, 
" The demand will be made to-morrow at 1 2 o'clock. " 
To this came reply from Montgomery, "Unless 
there are special reasons connected with your own 
condition, it is considered proper that you should 
make the demand at an earlier date." Beauregard 
replied (all these of the same date, the loth), "The 
reasons are special for 12 o'clock." ^ These im- 
perative "reasons" proved to be shortness of pow- 
der, then on its way, and which arrived from Au- 
gusta, Georgia, that evening,^ and the placing of a 
new rifled 12 -pounder. 

^Statement of Ex - Confederate secretary of war to writer; 
Crawford, Fort Sumter, 421. 

^ War Records, Serial No. i, p. 297. ^ Ibid. 

* Crawford, Fort Sumter, 422. 


Shortly after noon, April 11, a boat bearing a 
white flag and three oflicers, the senior being Colonel 
James Chesnut, recently a United States senator, 
pushed off from a Charleston wharf and arrived at 
Sumter at half-past three. The officers being con- 
ducted to Anderson, a demand for the evacuation 
of the work was delivered. The officers of the fort 
were summoned, and after an hour's discussion it 
was determined, without dissent, to refuse the de- 
mand, and a written refusal was sent, in which An- 
derson regretted that his sense of honor and his 
obligations to his government prevented his com- 
pliance.^ Anderson accompanied the messengers as 
far as the main gate, where he asked, ''Will Gen- 
eral Beauregard open his batteries without further 
notice to me?" Colonel Chesnut replied, "I think 
not," adding, "No, I can say to you that he will 
not, without giving you further notice." On this 
Anderson unwisely remarked that he would be 
starved out anyway in a few days if Beauregard 
did not batter him to pieces with his guns. Ches- 
nut asked if he might report this to Beauregard. 
Anderson declined to give it such character, but 
said it was the fact.^ 

This information telegraphed to Montgomery 
elicited the reply: "Do not desire needlessly to 
bombard Fort Sumter. If Major Anderson will 
state the time at which, as indicated by him, he 

^ War Records, Serial No. i, p. 13. 

2 Ibid., p. 59; Crawford, Fort Sumter, 424. 

i86i] FALL OF SUMTER 331 

will evacuate, and agree that in the mean time he 
will not use his guns against us unless ours should 
be employed against Sumter, you are authorized 
thus to avoid the effusion of blood. If this or its 
equivalent be refused, reduce the fort as your judg- 
ment decides to be most practicable." ^ 

A second note from Beauregard was presented 
that night, and after a conference with his officers 
of three hours, in which the question of food was 
the main consideration, Anderson replied, will, 
if provided with proper and necessary means of 
transportation, evacuate Fort Sumter by noon on 
the 15 th instant . . . should I not receive prior to 
that time controlling instructions from my Govern- 
ment or additional supplies." The terms of the re- 
ply were considered by the messengers ''manifestly 
futile," and at 3.20 a.m. of the 12th the following 
note was handed by Beauregard's aides, Chesnut 
and Lee, to Anderson: "By authority of Brigadier- 
General Beauregard, commanding the provisional 
forces of the Confederate States, we have the honor 
to notify you that he will open the fire of his bat- 
teries on Fort Sumter in one hour from this time."^ 

Meantime Fox, intrusted with the general charge 
of the relief expedition, was sent by the president, 
March 30, to New York, with verbal instructions 
to prepare for the voyage but to make no binding 
engagements. Not having received the written au- 

^ War Records, Serial No. i, p. 301. 
^ Crawford, Fort Sumter, 425, 426. 



thority expected, he returned to Washington April 
2, and on the 4th the final decision was reached, 
and Fox was informed that a messenger would be 
sent to the authorities at Charleston to notify them 
of the president's action. Fox mentioned to the 
president that he would have but nine days to 
charter vessels and reach Charleston, six hundred 
and thirty-two miles distant. He arrived at New 
York April 5, bearing an order from General Scott 
to Lieutenant-Colonel H. L. Scott (son-in-law and 
aide-de-camp to the general-in-chief ) , embracing all 
his wants and directing Colonel Scott to give in 
his name all necessary instructions. Colonel Scott 
ridiculed the idea of relief, and his indifference 
caused the loss of half a day of precious time, be- 
sides furnishing recruits who. Fox complained, were 
"totally unfit" for the service they were sent on.^ 

Fox at once engaged the large steamer Baltic for 
troops and stores, and, after great difficulty, ob- 
tained three tugs, the Uncle Ben, Freeborn, and 
Yankee, the last fitted to throw hot water. The 
Pocahontas, Pawnee, and the revenue-cutter Harriet 
Lane, as already mentioned, were to be a part of 
the force, which thus, with the Powhatan, included 
four armed vessels, the last being of very consid- 
erable power. The Pawnee, Commander Rowan, 
sailed from Washington the 9th; the Pocahontas, 
Captain Gillis, from Norfolk the loth; the Harriet 
Lane, Captain Faunce, from New York the 8th; the 
1 Naval War Records, IV., 248. 

i86i] FALL OF SUMTER 333 

Baltic, Captain Fletcher, the 9th. The Powhatan 
was already far on her way to Pensacola. 

The Baltic arrived at the rendezvous, ten miles 
east of Charleston bar, at 3 a.m. of the 12th, and 
found there the Harriet Lane; at six the Pawnee 
arrived; the Powtoa^ was not visible. The Baltic, 
followed by the Harriet Lane, stood in towards the 
land, when heavy guns were heard and the smoke 
and shells from the batteries which had opened that 
morning on Sumter were distinctly visible. Fox 
stood out to inform Rowan, of the Pawnee. Rowan 
asked for a pilot, declaring his intention of going in 
and sharing the fate of his brethren of the army. 
Fox went aboard the Pawnee and informed him that 
he would answer for it that the government did not 
expect such a sacrifice, having settled maturely upon 
the policy in instructions to Captain Mercer and 
himself. The Nashville, from New York, and a 
nimiber of merchant vessels off the bar, gave the 
appearance of the presence of a large naval fleet. 

The weather continued very bad, with a heavy 
sea. No tugboats had arrived; the tug Freeborn 
did not leave New York; the Uncle Ben was driven 
into Wilmington by the gale; the Yankee did not 
arrive off Charleston bar until April 15; all too late 
for any service ; neither the Pawnee nor the Harriet 
Lane had boats or men to carry supplies ; the Baltic 
stood out to the rendezvous and signalled all night 
for the expected Powhatan. The next morning, the 
13th, was thick and foggy, with a heavy groimd 


swell, and the Baltic, feeling her way in, touched 
on Rattlesnake shoal, but without damage ; a great 
volume of black smoke was seen from Sumter. No 
tugboats had yet arrived, and a schooner near by, 
loaded with ice, was seized and preparations made 
to load her for entering the following night. Going 
aboard the Pawnee, Fox now learned that a note 
from Captain Mercer of the Powhatan mentioned 
that he had been detached by superior authority 
and that the ship had gone elsewhere; though Fox 
had left New York two days later than the Powhatan, 
he had had no intimation of the change. At 2 p.m., 
April 13, the Pocahontas arrived, and the squadron, 
powerless for relief, through the absence of the 
Powhatan and the tugs, was obliged to witness the 
progress of the bombardment.^ 

''About four A.M. on the twelfth," says Double- 
day, "I was awakened by some one groping about 
my room in the dark and calling out my name." 
This was Anderson, who had come to inform his 
second in command of the information just received 
of the intention of the Confederates to open fire an 
hour later. ^ At 4.30, the Confederates being able to 
make out the outline of the fort, a gun at Fort 
Johnson was fired as the signal to open; the first 
shotted gtm was then fired from Morris Island by 
Edmund Ruffin, an aged secessionist from Virginia, 
who had long, in pamphlet and speech, advocated 

* Fox's report, in Naval War Records, IV., 245-251. 

• Doubleday, Sumter and Moultrie, 142. 

i86i] FALL OF SUMTER 335 

separation from the Union. The fire from the bat- 
teries at once became general. 

The fort began its return at seven o'clock. All 
the officers and men, including the engineers, had 
been divided into three reliefs of two hours each, 
and the forty-three workmen 3'et remaining all 
volimteered for duty. It was, how^ever, an absurdly 
meagre force to work such a number of gtms and to 
be pitted against the surroimding batteries, manned 
by more than six thousand men. The number of 
cartridges was so reduced by the middle of the 
day, though the six needles available were kept 
steadily at work in making cartridge bags, that the 
firing had to slacken and be confined to the six gims 
bearing tow^ards Moultrie and the batteries on the 
west end of Sullivan's Island. The mortar fire had 
become very accurate, so that when the 13 -inch 
shells came down in a vertical direction, and buried 
themselves in the parade -groimd, their explosion 
shook the fort like an earthquake." ^ The horizon- 
tal fire also grew in accuracy, and Anderson, to save 
his men, withdrew them from the barbette guns and 
used those of the lower tiers only. Unfortunately, 
these were of too light a caliber to be effective 
against the Morris Island batteries, the shot re- 
bounding without effect from the face of the iron-clad 
battery there, as well as from the floating iron-clad 
battery moored behind the sea-w^all at Sullivan's 
Island. The withdrawal of the men from the 
^ Doubleday, Sumter and Moultrie, 147. 


heavier battery could only be justified by the al- 
ready foregone result, and no doubt this was in 
Anderson's mind. The garrison was reduced to 
pork and water, and, however willing, it could not 
with such meagre food withstand the strain of the 
heavy labor of working the guns; to add to the 
difficulties, the guns, strange to say, were not pro- 
vided with breech-sights, and these had to be impro- 
vised with notched sticks.^ 

The shells from the batteries set fire to the bar- 
racks three times during the day, and the precision 
of the vertical fire was such that the four 8 -inch 
and one lo-inch columbiad, planted in the parade, 
could not be used. Half the shells fired from the 
seventeen mortars engaged came within, or exploded 
above, the parapet of the fort, and only about ten 
buried themselves in the soft earth of the parade 
without exploding. Two of the barbette guns were 
struck by the fire from Moultrie, which also damaged 
greatly the roof of the barracks and the stair towers. 
None of the shot came through. The day closed 
stormy and with a high tide, without any material 
damage to the strength of the fort. Throughout the 
night the Confederate batteries threw shell every ten 
or fifteen minutes. The garrison was occupied until 
midnight in making cartridge bags, for which all the 
extra clothing was cut up, and all the coarse paper 
and extra hospital sheets used.^ 

* Doubleday, Sumter and Moultrie, 147. 

' Foster's report, in War Records, Serial No. i, pp. 20, 21. 

i86i] FALL OF SUMTER 337 

At daylight, April 13, all the batteries again 
opened, and the new 12-pounder Blakely rifle, which 
had arrived but four days before from abroad,^ 
caused the wounding of a sergeant and three men 
by the fragments thrown off from the interior of 
the w^all by its deep penetration. An engineer em- 
ployed was severely wounded by a fragment of 
shell. Hot shot now became frequent, and at nine 
o'clock the officers' quarters were set afire. As it 
was evident the fire would soon surround the maga- 
zine, every one not at the guns was employed to 
get out powder; but only fifty barrels could be re- 
moved to the casemates, when it became necessary 
from the spread of the flames to close the magazine. 
The whole range of the officers' quarters was soon 
in flames, and the clouds of smoke and cinders sent 
into the casemates set on fire many of the men's 
beds and boxes, making the retention of the powder 
so dangerous that all but five barrels were thrown 
into the sea.- 

By eleven o'clock the fire and smoke were 
driven by the wind in such masses into the point 
where the men had taken refuge that suffocation 
appeared imminent. "The roaring and crackling 
of the flames, the dense masses of whirling smoke, 
the bursting of the enemy's shells, and our own 
which were exploding in the burning rooms, the 
crashing of the shot and the sound of masonry fall- 
ing in every direction, made the fort a pande- 

* War Records, Serial No. i, p. 293. ^Ihid., p. 22. 

VOL. XIX. — 22 


monium. . . . There was a tower at each angle of 
the fort. One of these containing great quantities 
of shells . . , was almost completely shattered by 
successive explosions. The massive wooden gates, 
studded with iron nails, were burned, and the wall 
built behind them was now a heap of debris, so 
that the main entrance was wide open for an as- 
saulting party," ^ 

But however great the apparent damage and the 
discomfort and danger while the fire lasted, the fir- 
ing could have been resumed ' ' as soon as the walls 
cooled sufficiently to open the magazines, and then, 
having blown down the wall projecting above the 
parapet, so as to get rid of the flying bricks, and 
built up the main gates with stones and rubbish, 
the fort would actually have been in a more defen- 
sible condition than when the action commenced." ^ 

But want of men, want of food, and want of pow- 
der together made a force majeure against which 
further strife was useless; and when, about i p.m., 
the flag-staff was shot away, though the flag was at 
once flown from an improvised staff, a boat was 
sent from the commanding officer at Morris Island, 
bringing Colonel (Ex-Senator) Wigfall and a com- 
panion bearing a white flag, to inquire if the fort 
had surrendered. 

Being allowed entrance, Major Anderson was 
sought for, and Wigfall, using Beauregard's name, 

* Doubleday, Sumter and Moultrie, 158. 

* Foster's report, in War Records, Serial No. i, p. 24. 




offered Anderson his own terms. Wigfall exhibited 
a white handkerchief from the parapet, and this 
being noticed brought from Beauregard himself 
Colonel Chesnut, Colonel Roger A. Pryor, Colonel 
William Porcher Miles, and Captain Lee, followed 
soon by Beauregard's adjutant-general, Jones, Ex- 
Governor Manning, and Colonel Alston. It tran- 
spired that Wigfall had not seen Beauregard for 
two days, and that his visit was wholly unauthor- 
ized. The proper authorities, however, being now 
at hand, arrangements were concluded at 7 p.m., 
Anderson surrendering (after some correspondence), 
with permission to salute the flag as it was hauled 
down, to march out with colors flying and drums 
beating and with arms and private baggage.^ 

Noticing the disappearance of the colors, a flag of 
truce was sent dn from the squadron outside, and 
arrangements made for carrying the garrison north. 
Next morning, Sunday, April 14, with a salute of 
fifty guns the flag was finally hauled down. It had 
been Anderson's intention to fire a hundred guns, 
but a lamentable accident occurred in the prema- 
ture discharge of one, by which one man was killed, 
another mortally wounded, and four others seri- 
ously injured. This accident delayed the departure 
until 4 P.M., when the little company of some eighty 
men, accompanied by the forty laborers,^ marched 

1 Foster's report, in War Records, Serial No. i, pp. 23, 24. 

2 Doubleday, Sumter and Moultrie, App., where the names 


out of the gate with their flags flying and drums 
beating. The steamer Isabel carried Anderson and 
his men to the Baltic, and at nightfall they were 
on their way north. 

April 15, the day after the surrender, the presi- 
dent issued his proclamation calling "forth the 
militia of the several states of the Union" to the 
number of seventy-five thousand men, in order to 
suppress "combinations too powerful to be sup- 
pressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, 
or by the powers vested in the marshals by law," 
and "to cause the laws to be duly executed." Con- 
gress was called to convene July 4. An immediate 
effect of the proclamation was the secession of Vir- 
ginia, April 17, the conservative elements of the state 
convention, although in the majority, being over- 
whelmed by the enthusiasm and impetus of the se- 
cession attack. Another prompt result was the for- 
mation of the northwestern counties into what is 
now West Virginia. 

Fox's expedition, however abortive in a physical 
sense, did much more than attempt to succor Sum- 
ter; it was the instrument through w^hich the fort 
was held to the accomplishment of the fateful mis- 
take of the Confederacy in striking the first blow. 
It prevented the voluntary yielding of the fort, and 
was an exhibition of the intention of the govern- 
ment to hold its own. It was thus elemental in 
its effects. Had Anderson withdrawn and hauled 
down his flag without a shot from the South, it 

i86i] FALL OF SUMTER 341 

would have been for the Federal government to 
strike the first blow of war; and its call for men 
would have met with a different response to that 
which came from the electric impulse which the 
firing upon the flag caused to vibrate through the 
North. This expectation was the basis of Lin- 
coln's determination. Almost alone, unmovable by 
cabinet or war department, he saw with the cer- 
tainty of the seer what holding Sumter meant, and 
continued on the unchangeable way which from 
the first he had taken. In his letter of sympathy 
to Fox, May i, he said: "You and I both anticipated 
that the cause of the country would be advanced 
by making the attempt to provision Fort Sumter 
even if it should fail, and it is no small consolation 
now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the 
result." ^ 

The enthusiastic response of the North to the 
proclamation was witness to the truth of Lincoln's 
view, as well as to the North's determination that 
the offended dignity of the Union should be avenged, 
its strongholds regained, its boundaries made in- 
tact, and that the United States be proved to be a 
nation. It was for this the Union fought ; the free- 
ing of the blacks was but a natural and necessary 
incident. The assault upon Sumter was the knife 
driven by the hand of the South itself into the 
vitals of slavery. 

While the struggle thus begun was to desolate 

* Naval War Records, IV., 251. 


the South and wring the hearts of millions, it was 
to revivify the Union as a whole and arouse the 
South into a life far exceeding, in its moral and 
economic sides alike, any which could have been 
possible under its ancient regime. However great 
the loss of life and property, however distressing 
the destruction of so much of the flower of northern 
and southern manhood, and of a social organization 
which had been the growth of two centuries, the 
outcorne, besides the vital one of nationality, has 
been one of greatest good for both sections ; for the 
North, through the ideals which come through such 
self-sacrifice; for the South, immeasurable in free- 
ing both whites and blacks from conditions which 
made development impossible to both. The negro 
is now given the greatest and most favorable op- 
portunity in his race history, in having the uplift of 
association on fair terms with a numerous and 
highly civilized race, an association necessary for 
his success. The whites are freed from the en- 
forced segregation of the great mass on lonely 
farms, with no outlook beyond, which was their 
sole portion; they have been drawn into the high- 
ways of progress, and can take, and are taking, a 
fair and equal share in the expansion of the coun- 
try such as never could have come under slavery. 
The South 's salvation demanded that it should, 
through freedom, take up the march of the world. 
Even the shade of Calhoun cannot be altogether 




'HE materials bearing upon the initial subject of this 

ly cited in the critical essays in other volumes of 
this series; notably in Albert Bushnell Hart, Slavery and 
Abolition (XVI.); George P. Garrison, Westward Extension 
(XVII.) ; Theodore C. Smith, Parties and Slavery (XVIII.) ; 
and James K. Hosmer, Appeal to Arms (XX.). An excel- 
lent general list is John Russell Bartlett, Catalogue of Books 
and Pamphlets Relating to the Civil War in the United States 
(1866) ; also, J. T. Ritchie, Lincolniana, a List of Lincolniana 
in the Library of Congress (i9o6);C.H, Van Tyne and W. G. 
Leland, Guide to the Archives of the Government of the United 
States in Washington (Carnegie Institution, Publications, 
No. 14). 

Hermann E. von Hoist, Constitutional History of the United 
States (7 vols., i885-i892),is the completest study of the con- 
stitutional aspects of events up to i860, but is wanting in 
any true comprehension of the South and its conditions. 
James Schouler, History of the United States tmder the Con- 
stitution (6 vols., 1 880-1 89 7), is an excellent record of events, 
told with entertaining vigor, with accuracy, and with good 
references. James Ford Rhodes, History of the United 
States from the Compromise of 1850 (7 vols., 1893-1906), 
gives in the introductory chapters an excellent review of the 
political aspects of slavery; the first three volumes cover 

leading to the war, are large- 



the period of the present work ; it is eminently fair and ju- 
dicial in treatment; its notes and references are of great 
value to the student, and it must long remain the most 
complete study of the events of this period. The American 
Statesmen series, edited by John T. Morse, Jr., is of value 
for a general view of the first half of the last century, but its 
deficiency in references is a great defect. Horace Greeley, 
The American Conflict (2 vols., 1864), is strongly partisan, 
but the first volume contains much valuable material in 
extracts from documents and references. Henry Wilson, 
Rise and Fall of the Slave Power (3 vols., 1875-1877), is 
suggestive, but it must be remembered that it is the work 
of a strong partisan. William Henry Smith, A Political 
History of Slavery (2 vols., 1903), has some value as the 
work of a journalist conversant with the newspaper world 
of the period immediately preceding the Civil War. John 
Codman Ropes, The Story of the Civil War (2 vols., 1899, 
unfinished) , devotes the first seven chapters to an excellent 
analysis of the beginning of the war. E. W. R. Ewing, 
Northern Rebellion and Southern Secession (1904), though 
ill- arranged and discursive, is of value in giving a southern 
view of northern action and legislation in the period of 
the incubation of secession. John C. Reed, Brothers' War 
(1905), is a book of value dealing with the causes of diver- 
gence, with appreciations of Calhoun, Webster, Davis, and 
Toombs, and with a study of the negro. George Lunt, 
Origin of the Late War (1866), gives the views of a Massa- 
chusetts moderate Whig in sympathy with the South ; the 
book is a good, conservative presentation of the subject. 
J. W. Draper, History of the Civil War (3 vols., 1 871), highly 
philosophical but suggestive ; John W. Burgess, Civil War 
and the Constitution (2 vols., 1903), I.; and Samuel H. Hard- 
ing, Missouri Party Struggles in the Civil War Period (Am. 
Hist. Assoc., Report, 1890), are of interest in connection 
with the beginnings of the strife. 

Of particular value in the story of Fort Sumter, on which 
hinged the great question of the time, is Samuel W. Craw- 
ford (surgeon at Sumter, later brevet major-general). 




Genesis of the Civil War (1887); the book contains much 
concerning events at the end of i860 and the beginning 
of 1 86 1 found in no other single work. Two works sup- 
plementing Crawford's account are Alfred Roman, Mili- 
tary Operations of General Beauregard (2 vols., 1884); and 
Abner Doubleday (captain, later major-general), Reminis- 
cences of Forts Sttmter and Moultrie in 1860-1861 (1876). 


James D. Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presi- 
dents (10 vols., 1896-1897) ; Albert Bushnell Hart, American 
History Told hy Contemporaries (4 vols., 189 7-1 901), a valu- 
able collection of papers and extracts; Thomas H. Benton, 
Thirty Years' View (2 vols., 1854-185 6) ; Edward Stanwood, 
History of the Presidency (1898); Thomas Hudson McKee, 
National Conventions and Platforms of all Parties from i^Sg 
to I go I (4th ed., 1901). Frank Moore, Rebellion Record 
(1865), is divided into a "Diary of Events," made up from 
newspaper clippings, "Documents and Narratives," "Ru- 
mors," "Poetry," and "Incidents"; it is a " scrap book " 
of considerable value. Under this heading of docimients 
may be placed also Appleton's Annual American Cyclopedia 
for 1 861, a very valuable and accurate work; Battles and 
Leaders of the Civil War, R. U. Johnson and C. C. Buel, edi- 
tors (4 vols., 1 884-1 887) ; Tribune Almanac (1859-1861), with 
much political information. Attention is called to the col- 
lection of Confederate MSS., generally known as the Pickett 
Papers, in the treasury department, Washington (tabulated 
in C. H. Van Tyne and W. G. Leland, Guide to the Archives 
of the Government of the United States in Washington), which 
include the correspondence of the Confederate government 
with its commissioners in Washington, March and April, 
1 861, and other important papers of the period. 


The views of the leaders of public opinion, and particu- 
larly of those of the South, are more fully expressed in the 


speeches in Congress than in any other documents. The 
Congressional 6^/06^, expresses voluminously the sentiment of 
men in public life, and it was these who directed southern 
sentiment. It was different in the North, where the public 
men, in the main, followed in the rear of an anti-slavery 
sentiment nourished by societies, by a voluminous litera- 
ture, and by the then potent lecture system. The House 
and Senate Journals, Executive Documents, Miscellaneous 
Documents, and Reports of Committees for 185 9-1 861, need 
to be referred to ; these are best reached through Tables and 
Annotated Index to the Congressional Series of United States 
Public Documents (1902), prepared in the ofhce of the super- 
intendent of documents; and Ben Perley Poore, Descrip- 
tive Catalogue of the Government Publications of the United 
States, September 5, iy'/4-March 4, 1881 (1885), 

Of the official publications covering the months Novem- 
ber, 1860-April, 1 86 1, the most valuable are the extensive 
publications of the war department, entitled War of the 
Rebellion, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Ar- 
mies (130 vols., 1 880-1 902), and of the navy department, 
Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the 
War of the Rebellion (20 vols., 1894-1905); Journal of the 
Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865 
{Senate Documents, 58 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 234). 


Second only to the official publications are Niles* Register 
(181 1-1849), a weekly of high order, published in Baltimore, 
without which the student of the history of the period 
would be distinctly poorer ; and the National Intelligencer, 
a Washington daily. Both of these papers took more pains 
to print contemporary documents than the ordinary news- 
papers. De Bow's Review (New Orleans and Washington, 
a monthly established in 1846) gives the fullest expression 
of southern views in a literary form, notably in the crisis of 
1859-1860; besides important political contributions, par- 
ticularly upon the proposed reopening of the African slave- 




trade, it contains valuable data of southern agriculture, 
commerce, and conditions. Harper's Weekly, 1859-1861, 
contains a valuable summary of events; The North Amer- 
ican Review, The Atlantic Monthly (then under the editor- 
ship of Lowell), and Harper's Magazine contain important 
articles on the subject of secession, scattered throughout 
the period from 1859 to the present, as does also The 
Century, established in 1881. The newspaper files of most 
libraries are very defective in those of the period treated; 
those in the Library of Congress are the most valuable and 
complete. The more powerful journals of 1859-1861 were 
the National Intelligencer; New York Tribune; New York 
Times; New York Evening Post; Boston Advertiser ; Albany 
Evening Journal, of which Thurlow Weed was editor, and 
which was largely Seward's organ; Chicago Tribune; Phila- 
delphia North American; Baltimore American (unionist); 
Richmond Enquirer (secessionist) ; Charleston Mercury (rab- 
idly secessionist); Washington Union (Mr. Buchanan's or- 
gan, until it became so violently secessionist that he parted 
from it) . A large number of the weekly papers of the South 
published in the country towns are of much value as giving 
truer views of popular opinion than the papers in the cities ; 
the Edgefield (South Carolina) Advertiser may be mentioned 
as typical of the class. 


Daniel Webster, Works (6 vols., 1851); Abraham Lin- 
coln, Complete Works (edited by John G. Nicolay and John 
Hay, 2 vols., 1904); Lincoln -Douglas Debates (reissued 
1899); and William H. Seward, Works (edited by G. E. 
Baker, 5 vols., 1853-1884), cover more fully than anything 
else, or than all else, the northern view of the constitu- 
tional questions involved in the great divergence of the 
sections. The three notable contributions of southerners 
to the constitutional aspect of the question are John 
C. Calhoun, Works (edited by Richard K. Cralle, 6 vols., 
1851-1855); Alexander H. Stephens, War between the States 


(2 vols., 1867) ; and Jefferson Davis, Rise and Fall of the Con- 
federate Government (2 vols., 1881). The work of Stephens 
is the ablest exposition of the southern view yet made, and 
is fair and temperate in tone. The small book of J. L. M. 
Curry, The Southern States considered in their Relations to the 
Constitution of the United States and to the Resulting Union 
(1894), is the work of one who took a prominent part in 
the secession movement and was later in the diplomatic 
service of the United States; it deals with the subject with 
fairness and ability. James H. Hammond, Letters and 
Speeches (1866), and Thomas L. Clingman, Writings and 
Speeches (1877), are important from the southern side. 


James Buchanan, Mr. Buchanan's Administration on the 
Eve of the Rebellion (1866) and Autobiography of William 
H.Seward (edited by Frederick W. Seward, 1877), both of 
value; Gideon Welles (secretary of the navy), Lincoln and 
Seward, Remarks upon Memorial Address of Charles Francis 
Adams upon William H. Seward, of historical importance, 
as are Welles's articles, "The Election and Administration 
of Abraham Lincoln," in the Galaxy magazine (XXII., 
XXIII., 1877); Winfield Scott, Autobiography of Lieutenant- 
General Scott (2 vols., 1864), a work of little value through 
omissions and inaccuracies; John Sherman, Recollections of 
Forty Years (2 vols., 1895); Thurlow Weed, Autobiography 
(edited by his daughter, Harriet A. Weed, 1884); George 
W. Julian, Political Recollections (1884); James G. Blaine, 
Twenty Years in Congress (2 vols., 1884), the first half of 
the first volume of which gives a fair and readable review 
of events leading to secession; A. K. McClure, Lincoln and 
Men of War Times (2ded., 1892), a book of personal recol- 
lections of considerable value; A. G. Riddle, Recollections 
of War Times (1895), by a member of Congress; Donn 
Piatt, Memories of Men who Saved the Union (1887), by a 
journalist; John W. Forney, Anecdotes of Public Men 
(1873), by a journalist. 




From the side of the southerners there are Reuben 
Davis, Recollections of Mississippi and Mississippians 
(1900), a straightforward, honest book; (Bishop) Richard 
W. Wilmer, The Recent Past from a Southern Standpoint 
(1900); (Mrs.) Victoria V. Clayton, White and Black under 
the Old Regime (1899), an excellent little book, describing 
the life and events of the period with great fairness and 
frankness; (Mrs.) Roger A. Pryor, Reminiscences of Peace 
and War (1904); Moncure D. Conway, Autobiography (2 
vols., 1904), interesting as giving the views of the one 
prominent Virginian allied with the New England tran- 


John G. Nicolay and John Hay, Abraham Lincoln, a His- 
tory (10 vols., 1890), a work of highest value in connec- 
tion with the Civil War, through the intimate knowledge 
which came to the authors as Lincoln's private secretaries; 
John G. Nicolay, Abraham Lincoln (1902), a condensation 
of the preceding work and an inspiring volimie ; Ward H. 
Lamon, Life of Abraham Lincoln (1872), of value as being 
by a former law partner. For the many other lives of Lin- 
coln, see G. T. Ritchie, Lincolniana, cited above. George 
Ticknor Curtis, James Buchanan (2 vols., 1883) ; this and Bu- 
chanan's Administration, admirable in many ways as they 
are, are the works of lawyers and have the defect of dealing 
with the great events of the eve of secession and with seces- 
sion itself from the strictly legal stand-point, recognizing in 
too slight a degree the overpowering psychical causes; they 
are really apologiae for a great failure to measure the men 
and movements of the time. Frederick Bancroft, Life of 
William H. Seward (2 vols., 1900); Frederick W. Seward, 
Seward at Washington (2 vols., 1891); (Mrs.) Chapman 
Coleman, Life of John J. Crittenden (2 vols., 187 1), a valua- 
ble book, but far from being as complete as it shotild be; 
Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed (1884), being 
the second volume of a work of which the first is the 
Autobiography already quoted; Albert Bushnell Hart, 


Salmon Portland Chase (1899); George C. Gorham, Life 
of Edwin M. Stanton (2 vols., 1899); Robert C. Winthrop, 
Jr., Memoir of Robert C. Winthrop (1897); Morgan Dix, 
Memoirs of John Adams Dix (2 vols., 1883); William 
Salter, Life of James W. Grimes (1876); James Russell 
Soley, Admiral Porter (1903); Thomas Sergeant Perry,^ 
Life and Letters of Francis Lieher (1882); Chauncey F. 
Black, Essays and Speeches of Jeremiah S. Black, with a 
Biographical Sketch (1885). 

Of southerners, Frank H. Alfriend, Life of Jefferson 
Davis, (1868); Richard Malcolm Johnston and William 
Hand Browne, Life of Alexander H. Stephens, (1878), a very 
valuable book, inasmuch as it gives the views of the sanest 
and wisest of the southern men in political life regarding 
the events of these years; John Witherspoon Du Bose, Life 
and Times of William Lowndes Yancey (1896); Barton H. 
Wise, Life of Henry A. Wise (1899) ; Henry A. Wise, Seven 
Decades of the Union, a Memoir of John Tyler (1881), a work 
of moderate value ; Lyon G. Tyler, Letters and Times of the 
Tylers (2 vols., 1885). 


The John Brown episode has occasioned a voluminous 
literature, most of which is of northern origin and of ex- 
treme partisan character. The chief authorities are the 
report of the Mason Senate Committee {Senate Reports, 36 
Cong., I Sess., No. 278); Frank B. Sanborn, Life and Letters 
of John Brown (1891); Richard J. Hint on, John Brown 
and his Men (1894); James Redpath, Public Life of 
Captain John Brown (i860); Hermann E. von Hoist, John 
Brown (1888). These last four are excessively laudatory 
and treat the subject as one of martyrdom. F. B. Sanborn 
published in the Atlantic Monthly (XXXV., 1875) a series 
of articles which are practically embodied in his work just 
mentioned. Others bearing on the subject are: Octavius 
Brooks Frothingham, Gerrit Smith (1878) ; Octavius Brooks 
Frothingham, Theodore Parker (1864). Two offsets to the 

i86i] AUTHORITIES 351 

extreme laudation of Brown are Eli Thayer, The Kansas 
Crusade (1889), and Charles Robinson, The Kansas Conflict 
(1892). Other less important works bearing upon the char- 
acter of Brown are named in connection with the subject 
of Kansas in Theodore C. Smith, Parties and Slavery {Am. 
Nation, XVIII.), chap. xxi. Two small books, Osborne P. 
Anderson (one of Brown's party at Harper's Ferry), A 
Voice from Harper's Ferry (1861), and Theodore Parker, 
Letter of Francis Jackson reviewing John Brown's Expedition 
(i860), have some slight value as side-lights upon the episode. 


The basic information is, of course, contained in the Cen- 
sus Reports of the United States. The general economic 
conditions of the South before the war are most excel- 
lently depicted in the very valuable works of Frederick Law 
Olmsted, Seaboard Slave States (1856, new ed. 1904), A 
Journey through Texas (1857), A Journey in the Back Country 
(i860, a new ed. 1907), and a condensation of these three 
published as The Cotton Kingdom (2 vols., 1861). These 
and James D. B. De Bow, The Industrial Resources of the 
Southern and Western States (3 vols., 1852-1853), and De 
Bow's Review, passim, contain information of great value 
upon southern life and conditions. J. C. Ballagh, Southern 
Economic History; Tariff and Public Lands (Am. Hist. 
Assoc., Report, 1898); and Samuel Davis, Some of the Con- 
sequences of the Louisiana Purchase {Ibid., 1897), are of 
value. Attention is called to additional lists of works 
upon the South in Albert Bushnell Hart, Slavery and 
Abolition {Am. Nation, XVI.), chaps, iv., xxii., and Theo- 
dore C. Smith, Parties and Slavery {Am. Nation, XVIII.), 
chap. xxi. 


Besides the discussion in J. F. Rhodes, United States, 
James Schouler, United States, Nicolay and Hay, Abraham 
Lincoln, J. W. Draper, Civil War, and other good second- 


ary books, there is a body of first-hand materials. Some of 
the most significant are: William H. Russell (correspond- 
ent of the London Times), My Diary North and South 
(1863); Adam Gurowski (an on-looker in Washington), 
Diary from March 4, 1861, to November 12, 1862 (1862) ; J. S. 
Pike, First Blows of the Civil War (1879); Abner Double- 
day, Reminiscences of Forts Sumter and Moultrie (1876), 
and Samuel W. Crawford, Genesis of the Civil War (1887), 
two books by participants; Thomas S. Goodwin, Natural 
History of Slavery (1864), strongly anti-slavery; Richard 
Grant White, New Gospel of Peace (1862 and later eds.), a 
clever satire. 

Southern views in William C. Fowler, Sectional Con- 
troversy (1865), strongly pro-slavery ; and the controversial 
books of James Buchanan, Jefferson Davis, and Alexander 
H. Stephens. 


The diplomacy of 1 859-1 860 affecting the questions in- 
volved in the on-coming war relates almost entirely to Mex- 
ico, Cuba, and Central America, which were regarded as 
fields for slavery extension. The desire and the attempt 
for a more intimate political relation with these regions, or 
for actual annexation, were a marked feature of the situa- 
tion. Reference should be made to the list under this head- 
ing in Smith, Parties and Slavery {Am. Nation, XVIII.), 
chap. xxi. Particular mention, however, should be made 
of John H. Latane, The Diplomacy of the United States in 
regard to Cuba (Am. Hist. Assoc., Report, 1897); John H. 
Latane, Diplomatic Relations of the United States and Span- 
ish America (1900); William Walker, "General Walker's 
Policy in Central America," in De Bow's Review, XXVIII. 
(February, i860); William C. Scroggs, "Walker and the 
Steamship Company," in American Historical Review, X. 
(July, 1905); Howard L. Wilson, "Buchanan's Proposed 
Intervention in Mexico," in American Historical Review, V. 
(July, 1900). 


Abolitionists, basis of success, 
55; apogee, 56; and other 
isms, 56; publications ex- 
cluded from mail, 57; wel- 
come secession, 165. 

Adams, C. F., in Congress, 90; 
and compromise, 178, 179. 

Adams, H. A., and Fort Pick- 
ens, 319. 

Adams, J. H., conference on 
secession, 136; South Caro- 
lina commissioner, 205; de- 
mand for the forts, 213-215; 
Buchanan's reply, 210-218; 
rejoinder, 218. 

Agriculture, southern small 
farms, 27; low value of slave 
labor, 27. 

Alabama, preparation for seces- 
sion, 144; growing Unionism, 
144; Yancey's attitude, 145; 
convention, 145; secession, 

Alston, Charles, and surrender 
of Sumter, 339. 

Amendments, Buchanan's sug- 
gestions, 163; Crittenden 
proposed, 170; proposed, to 
guarantee slavery in states, 
173, 178-180, 286. 

Anderson, Robert, commands 
Charleston forts, 192; fit- 
ness, 194; urges reinforce- 
ment and occupation of 
Pinckney and Simiter, 194- 
196; and state enrolment of 
fort laborers, 197; instruc- 

VOL. XIX.— 23 

tions to, 198-200; prepara- 
tions for removal to Sumter, 
206; removal accomplished, 
206-210; refuses to return, 
210; Black on, 217; Buchan- 
an on, 218; northern aproval, 
220; and Star of the West, 
226-229, 233; despatches to 
Washington, 234; promised 
support, 234; unfortunate 
statement of confidence, 234, 
290; and demand for surren- 
der (Jan.), 239; truce, 239, 
240; and Confederate prep- 
arations, 261; defensive in- 
structions repeated, 281; re- 
ports scarcity of provisions, 
290; recognizes his respon- 
sibility for conditions, 290; 
belief in success of seces- 
sion, 291; and Fox's plan, 
304, 325; and Lamon's un- 
authorized statements, 305; 
and Beauregard, 321; fears 
he has been abandoned, 323, 
324; informed of Fox expe- 
dition, 324; isolated, 324; 
on the expected attack, 326; 
refuses to evacuate, 330; re- 
mark on being starved out, 
330; offer on evacuation 
refused, 331; bombardment, 
334-338; surrenders, 338-340. 

Appropriations, Confederate 
constitution on, 257. 

Arkansas, Unionists control 
convention, 268. 


Arms seized by secessionists, 

Army, condition before Civil 
War, 164; first call for 
militia, 340. 

Arsenals seized by secessionists, 

Barnwell, R. W., South Caro- 
lina commissioner, 205; de- 
mand for the forts, 213-215; 
Buchanan's reply, 21 6-2.1 8; 
rejoinder, 218. 

Bates, Edward, candidacy for 
presidential nomination, 116, 
122; votes for, 1 1 9 ; selected 
for attorney-general, 281; 
and relief of Stmiter, 294, 306. 

Bayard, J. A., Breckinridge 
convention, 113. 

Beauregard, P. G. T., Confed- 
erate command at Charles- 
ton, 260; tirges policy of 
delay, 261; and pledge from 
Anderson, 321; reports readi- 
ness to attack, 324; consulta- 
tion with Pickens, 327; and 
order to attack, 329; de- 
mands evacuation, 330; and 
Anderson's offer, 331; bom- 
bardment, 334-338; terms of 
surrender, 339. 

Beckham, Fontaine, killed in 
John Brown's raid, 80. 

Bell, John, nominated for presi- 
dent, 114; offers to with- 
draw, 128; popular and elec- 
toral vote for, 132. 

Benjamin, J. P., in Senate, 90; 
and Lincoln (i860), 121; 
manifesto of southern con- 
gressmen, 242; Confederate 
attorney-general, 256. 

Bibliographies of period 1859- 
1861, 343. 

Bingham, K. S., and Peace Con- 
vention, 273. 

Binney, Horace, on Calhoun's 
social ideals, 41. 

Biographies of period 1859- 
1861, 348-350. 

Black, J. S., and secession, 151; 
and reinforcement of forts, 
153, 154; opinion on collect- 
ing revenue and defending 
Federal property, 159, 160; 
on coercion and enforcement 
of laws, 160; and removal to 
Sumter, 213, 217; and reply 
to commissioners, 215-217; 
advises relief of Sumter, 217; 
memorandum on relief, 235, 
236; Scott's reply, 237; bib- 
liography, 350. 

Blair, F. P., Sr., and relief of 
Sumter, 295. 

Blair, Montgomery, selected for 
postmaster-general, 281 ; and 
relief of Stmiter, 293-295,306. 

Blockade, importance, 188. 

Border states, conflicting senti- 
ments, 4, 274; decrease of 
slavery, 22; slave-trade, 35; 
importance of attitude, 265; 
conventions, 267, 268. See 
also states by name. 

Boteler, A. R., committee of 
thirty-three, 166. 

Botts, Lawson, defends John 
Brown, 82. 

Bragg, Braxton, and Pensacola 
expedition, 318. 

Breckinridge, J. C, nominated 
for president, 116; offers to 
withdraw, 128; popular and 
electoral vote for, 132; ex- 
pected election by House, 
134; on South and com- 
promise, 175. 

Brooklyn, and relief of Sumter, 
217, 223-225, 231-233; sent 
to Pensacola, 249, 250, 319. 

Brown, A. G., on desire for more 
slave territory, 167; mani- 
festo of southern congress- 
men, 242. 

Brown, Harvey, Pensacola ex- 
pedition, 317-319. 



Brown, John, early career, 68; 
antagonism to slavery, 69; 
in Kansas, 70; Pottawatomie 
massacre, 70; scheme of 
negro moimtain stronghold, 
71; " Kansas Regulars , " 71; 
arms from Massachusetts 
committee, 71, 72; plan re- 
vealed to friends, 72-74; 
in Canada "constitution," 
74; plan betrayed and post- 
poned, 75 ; duplicity in trans- 
fer of Kansas committee 
rifles, 75, 76; return to Kan- 
sas, 76; Missouri raid, 77; at 
Kennedy farm, 77, 82; plan 
betrayed to secretary of war, 
78; orders for attack on 
Harper's Ferry, 78; execu- 
tion of attack, 79; fighting 
with militia, 80; captured 
by marines, 80; after capt- 
ure, 8 1 ; treatment of prison- 
ers, 81; trial, 82; hanged, 
82; conduct during trial, 82; 
effect at the North, 83 ; con- 
duct of the South, 84 ; action 
and that of abettors con- 
demned, 84-46; folly of 
scheme, 87; hope for a slave 
rising, 88 ; unfitness for lead- 
ership, 89 ; reboimd of north- 
em sentiment, 89, 104; con- 
gressional inquiry, 96; Doug- 
las on raid, 97 ; bibliography, 

Brown, Oliver, Harper's Ferry 
raid, killed, 80. 

Brown, Owen, Harper's Ferry 
raid, 77; escape, 81. 

Brown, Watson, Harper's Ferry 
raid, killed, 80. 

Buchanan, James, and Cuba 
and Mexico, 61, 106; Covode 
inquiry, 105; responsibility 
for Democratic split, 133; 
cabinet attitude on secession, 
151; influence of Trescot, 
152; and reinforcement of 

Charleston forts (Dec). 153, 
154; bluffed to prevent rein- 
forcements, 154-156, 188; 
assured of South Carolina's 
immediate secession, 156; 
and South Carolina congress- 
men, 157; passive attitude 
as to forts, 158; and Cass's 
resignation, 158; passive at- 
titude promotes secession, 
159; and Black's opinion on 
collecting revenue and de- 
fending property, 159--161; 
policy of delay, 161; failiu-e, 
161, 184; message, 162-164; 
and Scott's advice on rein- 
forcement, 186; result of 
failure to follow it, 187-189; 
and instructions to Anderson, 
199; and Pickens's demand 
for Sumter, 201-204; and re- 
moval to Sumter, 21 1-2 13; 
and South Carolina com- 
missioners, 213-215; reply to 
commissioners, 2 1 5-2 1 8 ; their 
rejoinder, 218; change in atti- 
tude, 219, 246; appoints col- 
lector for Charleston, 220; 
message on finances and se- 
cession, 220; and Star of the 
West expedition, 224, 225; 
promises support to Ander- 
son, 234; rejects Ward's plan 
of relief, 237; and Fox's plan, 
238; and demand for Simi- 
ter, 240; and Simiter truce, 
241, 261, 269; and Fort 
Pickens, 249-251 ; continued 
peace delusion, 262; char- 
acter in the crisis, 262; and 
Washington birthday parade, 
263; and Lincoln, 285; bib- 
liography of administration, 
343-352; biographies, 348, 

Buell, D. C, instructions to 
Anderson, 198. 

Bullock, E. C, advice on seces- 
sion, 136. 


Burlingame, Anson, in Con- 
gress, 90. 

Butler, B. F., Democratic plat- 
form (i860), no; withdraws 
from convention, 115. 

Cabinet, Buchanan's, 151; 
changes in it, 158, 215, 245; 
Davis's, 255; and congress 
under Confederate constitu- 
tion, 256, 258; Lincoln's 
consultation on, 280-282; 
Lincoln's, 287. 

Calhoun, J. C, and secession, 
37, 46; belief in slavery, 37; 
responsibility for slavery agi- 
tation, 38-40; sole justifica- 
tion of attitude, 40; unaffect- 
ed by modern progress, 40; 
on slavery as a social neces- 
sity, 41; character of his 
Unionism, 42; and nullifica- 
tion, 43; resolutions of 1833, 
43-46; and Wilmot proviso, 
47; his remedy in 1847, 47 J 
final utterance on question, 

Cameron, Simon, vote for, in 
Republican convention, 119; 
selected for war portfolio, 
281; and relief of Sumter, 
295, 306; and relief expedi- 
tion,, 307. 

Campbell, J. A., advises Seward 
to reply to Confederate com- 
missioners, 298; evacuation 
negotiations with Seward, 
298-300, 308-311. 

Cass, Lewis, and secession, 151; 
and reinforcement of forts, 
153. 154; resigns, 158. 

Central America, filibustering 
and slavery, 61; bibliogra- 
phy, 352. 

Chandler, Zachariah, in Senate, 
90; on Peace Convention, 

Charleston, decay, 64. See also 
Charleston Harbor. 

Charleston Harbor forts, Bu- 
chanan's cabinet on rein- 
forcement (Dec), 153, 154; 
conspiracy to prevent rein- 
forcement, 154-158; Buchan- 
an's passive attitude, 158, 
159 ; Buchanan's message on, 
1 63 ; Scott advises reinforce- 
ment (Oct.), 184; available 
force, 185; probable effect of 
reinforcement before seces- 
sion, 186-189; condition, 
189-191, 195; Moultrie re- 
paired, 191; Gardner asks 
reinforcement, 191; attempt- 
ed removal of ammunition, 
192; Anderson supersedes 
Gardner, 192, 194; Porter's 
report, 193; Anderson ad- 
vises reinforcement and occu- 
pation of Pinckney and Sum- 
ter, 194-197; Charleston and 
work on forts, 196; and state 
enrolment of fort laborers, 
197; Buell's instructions to 
Anderson, 198; Buchanan 
modifies these, 199; Pinck- 
ney occupied, 200; forty- 
muskets episode, 200; state 
demands Sumter, 201; de- 
mand withdrawn, 202; Bu- 
chanan's draught reply to 
demand, 203 ; state patrol, 
205 ; Anderson's prepara- 
tions for removal to Sumter, 
206; removal accomplished, 
206-209 ; flag-raising at Sum- 
ter, 209; consequent excite- 
ment, 210; Anderson refuses 
to return, 210; state occupies 
other forts, 211; Buchanan 
and removal, 21 1-2 13; com- 
missioners* demand, 213-215; 
cabinet council, 215 ; Black's 
memorandum on demand , 
216, 217; Buchanan's reply to 
commissioners, 217; their re- 
joinder, 218; new collector, 
220; Scott's advice (Dec), 



223 ; Star of the West, 224-234; 
Anderson promised support, 
234; his confidence, 234; 
unfortunate effect of this, 
235; Black's memorandum 
on, 235, 236; Scott's reply, 
237; Ward's plan to relieve, 
237; Fox's plan, 237; harbor 
entrance obstructed, 239; de- 
mand for surrender of Sum- 
ter (Jan.), 239; one-sided 
truce, 239-241, 251, 261, 269; 
secessionist game of delay, 
239, 240, 268, 290, 303, 309; 
Pickens's letter on delivery 
of Sumter, 240; Confederacy 
assumes control of question, 
259; Pickens urges attack, 
260; Beauregard in com- 
mand, 260; urges prevention 
of Sumter reinforcement, 
261; first attitude of Lin- 
coln's cabinet, 289; Lincoln 
recognizes necessity of retain- 
ing Sumter, 289, 341; food 
problem at Simiter, 290, 321, 
322; responsibility for this, 
290-292; Lincoln's determi- 
nation, 292; Scott advises 
against relief, 293; renewal 
of Fox's plan, 293; first cab- 
inet consultation on relief, 
294-296; Seward announces 
intended abandonment, 296; 
Sev>?'ard - Campbell negotia- 
tions, 298-301, 308-311; Con- 
federates discount Seward's 
statements, 301, 309, 310; 
Seward's sincerity, 302, 311; 
Douglas urges withdrawal, 
302; public interest, 302; 
Republican sentiment, 302; 
Anderson and Fox's plan, 
304; Lamon's imauthorized 
statements, 305, 308, 321; 
second cabinet meeting on 
relief, 306; relief expedition 
ordered, 307; Lincoln in- 
forms Pickens of relief, 310, 

327; preparation of expedi- 
tion, 312, 313, 331-333;. and 
Pensacola relief expedition, 
314; another vessel fired on, 
322; Anderson fears aban- 
donment, 323, 324; Con- 
federates ready for attack, 
324; knowledge of Fox expe- 
dition, 324-326; Sumter iso- 
lated, 324; conditions before 
the attack, 326; preparation 
at Sumter, 327; Confederate 
batteries, 328; attack order- 
ed, 329; demand for evacua- 
tion made, 330; Anderson's 
remark on shortage, 330; his 
offer declined, 331; relief ex- 
pedition at the bar, 333; 
bombardment, first day, 334- 
336; fire in Sumter, 336, 337; 
second day, 337; surrender, 
338-340; effect of relief ex- 
pedition, 340; bibliography, 

344, 351. 

Chase, S. P., candidacy for 
presidential nomination, 116; 
votes for, 119; Wilson on 
candidacy, 120; selected for 
treasury portfolio, 281; and 
relief of Sumter, 295, 306; 
bibliography, 350. 

Chesnut, James, resigns from 
Senate, 168; and Sumter, 

330. 331. 339- 
Chew, R. S., sent to Charleston, 

310. 327. 

Chilton, Samuel, defends John 
Brown, 82. 

Civil service. Confederate con- 
stitution on, 256, 257. 

Civil War, northern preponder- 
ance, 29; Stephens derided 
for prophesying, 134; Davis 
expects, 254; uprising of 
North, 341; beneficent effect, 

Clark, Daniel, and popular vote 
on Crittenden amendment, 


Clark, J. B., on Impending 
Crisis, 91. 

Clay, C. C., and Sumter, 240, 
241; manifesto of southern 
congressmen, 242. 

Clay, Henry, on curse of sla- 
very, 18; fatuity of his com- 
promise (1833), 43; Union- 
ism and slavery, 49, 

Clingman, T. L., on secession 
and Lincoln's election, 167. 

Cobb, Howell, and secession, 
151, 153; and reinforcement 
of forts, 153; candidacy for 
Confederate presidency, 253. 

Cobb, T. R. R., advocacy of 
secession, 144. 

Coercion and enforcement of 
laws, 160, 163, 266, 282, 283. 

Colfax, Schuyler, in Congress, 

Colorado, territory organized, 

Commerce, effect of steam on 
southern foreign, 15; value 
of export of cotton, 29 ; decay 
of South Carolina, 65. 

Compact theory, Calhoun and 
Webster on, 44. 

Compromise, Buchanan's sug- 
gested amendments, 1 63 ; 
congressional committees to 
consider, 166, 172; South 
does not desire, 167-169; 
Dimn's resolution, 169; Wade 
on, 169; Crittenden com- 
promise, 170-172; Senate 
committee rejects it, 172; 
Republican offer, 172; Lin- 
coln's attitude, 172, 176, 180, 
181, 279, 280; amendment 
guaranteeing state slavery, 
173, 178-180, 284, 286; com- 
mittee reports failure, 173; 
popularity of Crittenden, 
173-175; Weed's, 174; Re- 
publican responsibility for 
rejection, 175-177, 180; at- 
tempted popular vote on. 

177; House committee re- 
ports, 178; justification of Re- 
publican opposition, 181-183; 
Buchanan's message, 221; 
hopeless, 222; Buchanan 
clings to idea, 261-263; call 
of Peace Convention, 268- 
270; meeting, 270-272; re- 
sult, 272, 273; public disap- 
pointment over failure, 274. 
Compromise of 1850, Calhoun 
on, 48; Clay's attitude, 49; 
wisdom of Webster's speech, 

Confederate States, states form- 
ing, 3 ; formation advised, 
169, 242 ; convention to form, 
251; provisional congress, 
252; officers elected, 253; 
financial measures, 254;l;akes 
over Federal questions, 254; 
Davis's inaugural, 255; com- 
missioners to Washington, 
256; constitution, 256-258; 
foimded on slavery, 258; 
reception of commissioners, 
297, 311. 

Congress, Thirty - sixth : com- 
plexion, 90, 95; prominent 
members, 90; speakership 
contest, 91; imminence of 
conflict, 92, 94; threats of 
disunion, 93 ; answer to 
threats, 93, 95; Harper's Fer- 
ry raid, 96; Douglas on Re- 
publican party, 97; Davis's 
distribution of arms bill, 98; 
Davis's resolutions, 99-101, 
104; Seward's speech on 
slavery, 102-104; disorders, 
105; no slavery legislation, 
105; Covode inquiry, 105; 
Mexican treaty, 107; naval 
estimates cut down, 124, 125; 
Sumner's speech on slavery, 
125; annual message (i860), 
162-164; and Anderson, 220; 
message of January 8, 220; 
House resolution on Charles- 



ton forts, 221; withdrawal of 
southerners, 253. See also 
Conkling, Roscoe, in Congress, 

Constitution, interpretations of 
Calhoim and Webster, 43-46 ; 
Confederate compared with 
Federal, 256-259. 

Constitutional tJnion party, 
nominees and platform, 114; 
vote for, 132. 

Continental Congress and slave- 
trade (1776), 5. 

Conway, M. D., on John Brown, 

Coppoc, Barclay, Harper's Fer- 
ry raid, 78. 

Corwin, Thomas, and compro- 
mise, 178-180. 

Cotton, necessity of slave cult- 
ure, 7, 8; growth of produc- 
tion, 9 ; character of culture, 
9; importance as export, 29; 
basis of "cotton is king," 30, 
104; Confederate export, 254. 

Covode inquiry, 105. 

Cox, S. S., in Congress, 90. 

Crawford, M. J., disunion threat 
(1859), 93; commissioner to 
Washington, 256; on Bu- 
chanan, 262; on Lincoln's 
inaugural, 287; and Seward, 
297, 298, 311; and Seward- 
Campbell negotiation , 298- 
301, 308, 311; on Lincoln's 
intentions, 323, 

Crawford, S. W., and removal 
to Sumter, 208. 

Crittenden, J. J., on Calhoun, 
38; compromise propositions, 
170-172; committee of thir- 
teen, 172; and popular vote 
on amendment, 177; and 
Peace Convention compro- 
mise, 273; bibliography, 349. 

Crittenden compromise, provi- 
sions, 170-172; rejected by 
Senate committee, 172; pop- 

ular in North, 173-175; Re- 
publican responsibility for re- 
jection, 175; attempt to get 
popular vote on, 177. 

Cuba, attempted purchase, 61; 
southern desire for, 107. 

Curry, J. L. M., in Congress, 

Curtin, A. G., and Seward's 
candidacy, 122. 

Cushing, Caleb, Democratic con- 
vention (i860), 109, 115, 116; 
visit to Pickens, 204. 

Dakota, territory organized, 

Davis, H. W., in Congress, 90. 

Davis, J. C, occupies Castle 
Pinckney, 200. 

Davis, Jefferson, on constitu- 
tional cause of secession, 12; 
on climatic limitations of 
slavery, 52; distribution of 
arms bill, 98; resolutions on 
state rights and slavery, 99- 
loi, 104; on sectional hostil- 
ity and secession, 148; ad- 
vises secession and confedera- 
tion, 169; committee of 
thirteen, 172; and Critten- 
den compromise, 172, 175; 
and removal to Sumter, 212; 
manifesto of southern con- 
gressmen, 242; and secession 
as conspiracy, 243-245; Con- 
federate provisional presi- 
dent, 253; withdraws from 
Senate, 254; reluctant ac- 
ceptance of presidency, 254; 
foresees war, 254; inaugural, 
255; cabinet, 255; and Sew- 
ard's peace statements, 301, 
303; bibliography, 348, 350. 

Davis, Reuben, in Congress, 90; 
bibliography, 349. 

De Bow, J. D. B., on slavery in 
Missouri, 23 ; and reopening 
of slave-trade, 62. 

Debt, Confederate loans, 254. 


De Jarnette, D. C, on Lincoln's 
inaugural, 287. 

Delaware, slave population 
(i860), 21; instructions to 
Peace Convention delegates, 

Democratic party, division 
(i860), 98-101. SeealsoElec- 

Dimick, Justin, and relief of 
Sumter, 224. 

Dix, J. A., on Crittenden's 
amendment, 173; secretary 
of the treasury, 245; and Bu- 
chanan, 246; flag despatch, 
246; on public opinion and 
Sumter, 302; bibliography, 

Doubleday, Abner, and re- 
moval to Sumter, 207. 

Douglas, S. A., responsibility 
for Kansas-Nebraska act, 58; 
propitiatory bill (i860), 96; 
on Harper's Ferry raid and 
Republican party, 97; mar- 
plot, 98; southern opposi- 
tion to candidacy, 98, 109; 
Davis's attack on Freeport 
Doctrine, 99-101; and Dem- 
ocratic platform, 109 -113; 
balloting for, 113; nominated, 
115; fears secession issue, 127; 
refuses to withdraw, 128; ex- 
pects Lincoln's election, 128; 
southern tour, denounces se- 
cession, 128-130; popiularand 
electoral vote for, 132; com- 
mittee of thirteen, 172; and 
Peace Convention compro- 
mise, 273; and Lincoln, 285; 
urges withdrawal from Sum- 
ter, 302. 

Douglass, Frederick, and John 
Brown, 71, 74. 

Dunn, W. M., conciliatory reso- 
lution, 169. 

Economic conditions, bibliog- 
raphy, 351. See also Agri- 

culture, Cotton, Finances, 
Manufactures, Tariff. 
Edwards, Jonathan, slave-own- 
er, 6. 

Elections, i860: Lincoln's elec- 
tion as reason for secession, 
93, 96, 129, 133, 137, 139, 
144, 167; Democratic split, 
98-101; Democratic conven- 
tion, reports on platform, 
109-112; adoption of Doug- 
las platform, 113; secession 
of southern members, 113; 
ineffectual balloting, adjourn- 
raent, 113; seceders conven- 
tion, 113, 115; Constitutional 
Union nominees and plat- 
form, 114; second secession 
of Democratic contention, 
further secession, 115; nomi- 
nation of Douglas, 115; nom- 
ination of Breckinridge, 116; 
Republican convention, prom- 
inent candidates, 116; plat- 
form, 117, 118; balloting, 
119; nomination of Lincoln, 
119; its basis, 11 9-1 23; Lin- 
coln's election foreshadowed, 
126; protection as issue, 126; 
Republicans belittle secession 
issue, 126, 127; Seward's mag- 
nanimity and speeches, 130- 
132; Douglas's southern tour 
and denunciation of secession, 
127-130; attempt to concen- 
trate opposition to Lincoln, 
128; vote, election of Lincoln, 
132; expectation of no popu- 
lar election, 134. 

Everett, Edward, nominated for 
vice president, 114; on Crit- 
tenden compromise, 173. 

Faulkner, C. J., defends John 
Brown, 82. 

Faunce, John, Sumter relief ex- 
pedition, 332. 

Federal Convention, slave com- 
promises, 5. 



Finances, bad condition, 221; 
improvement, 246; first Con- 
federate measures, 254; pro- 
visions in Confederate con- 
stitution, 256, 257. 

Fitzpatrick, Benjamin, declines 
vice-presidential nomination, 

Fletcher, Captain, Sumter relief 
expedition, 333. 

Floyd, J. B., and John Brown's 
plan, 78; and secession, 151; 
traitorous intent, 151; and 
reinforcement of Charleston 
forts, 153, 154; conspiracy to 
prevent reinforcement, 154- 
156; and forty-muskets epi- 
sode, 191, 200; and transfer 
of ammunition, 192; removes 
Gardner, 192; vacillation on 
forts, 193; and state enrol- 
ment of fort laborers, 197 ; in- 
structions to Anderson, 198; 
and removal to Sumter, 211, 
213; resigns, 215. 

Forbes, Hugh, and John Brown, 

72. 75. 76- 

Foreign affairs, bibliography, 
352. See also nations by 

Forsyth, John, commissioner 
to Washington, 256, 297; 
and Seward, 297, 298, 311; 
and Seward- Campbell nego- 
tiations, 298-301, 308-311. 

Forts, southern, Scott advises 
reinforcement (Oct.), 184; 
force available for, 185 ; prob- 
able result of reinforcement 
before secession, 187-189; 
seized by secessionists, 274. 
See also Charleston Harbor, 
Pickens (Fort) . 

Foster, J. G., and forty-muskets 
episode, 191, 200; reports 
progress on Sumter, 195; 
exposes "excitement" fake, 
201 ; and removal to Sumter, 

Fox, G. v., plan to relieve 
Sumter, 237; rejected by 
Buchanan, 238; plan re- 
newed, 294; in Charleston, 
304; plan adopted, 305, 307; 
preparation, 313, 331-333; at 
Charleston bar, 333 ; effect of 
expedition, 340. 

Freeport Doctrine, Davis's at- 
tack on, 99-101. 

Fugitive-slave law, Crittenden 
compromise on, 171, 172; 
Republican offer on, 173; 
Lincoln's attitude, 280. 

Gardner, J. L., commands 
Charleston forts, 191; asks 
reinforcement, 191; attempts 
to secure ammunition, 192; 
removal, 192. 

Garnett, M. R. H., on Lincoln's 
inaugural. 287. 

Gaulden, W. B., on demand for 
protection of slavery, 114. 

Georgia, advises co-operative ac- 
tion on secession, 140; oppo- 
sition to secession, Stephens's 
speech, 141-143; his despair 
of preventing secession, 143; 
secession to secure better 
terms, 144. 

Gill, G. B., and John Brown, 

Gillis, J. P., Sumter relief expe- 
dition, 332. 

Gilmer, J. A., in Congress, 90; 
Lincoln's letter to, 279; de- 
clines cabinet offer, 281, 282. 

Gist, W. H., conference on 
secession, 136; advises legis- 
lature to act, 137; and rein- 
forcement of forts, 155, 156. 

Greeley, Horace, on Lincoln's 
Cooper Institute speech, 102; 
supports candidacy of Bates, 
116; opposes Seward, 117; 
"go in peace" policy, 164; 
on Lincoln and compromise, 


Green, John, at Fort Monroe, 

Grimes, J. W., in Senate, 90; 
opposes compromise, 176, 
180; bibliography, 350. 

Griswold, Henry, defends John 
Brown, 82. 

Grow, G, A., in Congress, 90. 

Gwin, W. M., and Seward, 296. 

Hall, N. J., and removal to 
Sumter, 209; sent to Wash- 
ington, 240. 

Hamlin, Hannibal, nominated 
for vice-president, 119. 

Hammond, J. H., on armed 
congressmen, 94; on power 
of South, 94; conference on 
secession, 136; resigns, 168; 
bibliography, 348. 

Harlan, James, amendment to 
Davis's resolutions (i860), 

Harper's Ferry. See Brown 

Hartstene, H. J., and Fox, 303. 
Harvey, J. E., betrays Fox 

expedition, 325. 
Hayne, I. W., in Washington, 

240, 241, 268. 
Helper, H. Impending Crisis, 

Republican indorsement, 91; 

effect of southern resentment, 


Hemphill, John, manifesto of 
southern congressmen, 242. 

Hickman, John, on threats of 
disimion, 93. 

Hicks, T. H., Unionist, 268. 

Higginson, T. W., and John 
Brown, 73-76; complicity 
with Brown condemned, 85, 

Holt, Joseph, and secession, 
151; and removal to Sumter, 
213; and reply to commis- 
sioners, 215; secretary of 
war, 215; and relief of Sum- 
ter, 224; promises Anderson 

support, 234; and Fox's plan, 
238; repeats defensive in- 
structions to Anderson, 261- 
263; and Twiggs, 276. 

Houston, Samuel, governor, 68. 

Howard, W. A., resolution on 
Charleston forts, 221, 

Howe, S. G., and John Brown, 
74. 75; complicity with 
Brown condemned, 85. 

Hoyt, G. E., defends John 
Brown, 82. 

Huger, Benjamin, in charge of 
Charleston arsenal, 193. 

Himter, R. M. T., and removal 
to Sumter, 212; and Seward 
and Confederate commission- 
ers, 297. 

Hurlbut, S. A., visit to Charles- 
ton, 304. 

Illinois, instructions to Peace 
Convention delegates, 272. 

Immigration and slavery, 27. 

Impeachment imder Confeder- 
ate constitution, 256. 

Impending Crisis. See Helper. 

Indiana, instructions to Peace 
Convention delegates, 272. 

Instruction, negro, John Brown's 
hope for, 82, 88; Parker com- 
mends, 84. 

Internal improvements. Con- 
federate constitution on, 256. 

Isthmian transit, draught treaty 
with Mexico (1859), ioi5. 

Iverson, Alfred, on southern in- 
tentions, 168; manifesto of 
southern congressmen, 242. 

Jamison, D. F., and Sumter, 239. 
Japan, first embassy, 126. 
Jefferson, Thomas, and slavery, 

Jemison, Robert, Unionism, 145. 
Johnson, H. V., nominated for 

vice-president, 115. 
Johnson, R. W., manifesto of 

southern congressmen, 242. 



Jones, D. R., and surrender of 
Sumter, 339. 

Kagi, J. H., and John Brown, 
74; on Brown's design, 88. 

Kansas, war as a phase of sec- 
tionalism, 62; Pottawatomie 
massacre, 70; Marais des 
Cygnes massacre, 76. 

Kansas-Nebraska act, effect on 
slavery agitation, 58. 

Keitt, L. M., on power of 
South, 104. 

Kentucky, decrease of slave 
ratio, 22; no convention 
called, 268; instructions to 
Peace Convention delegates, 

Lamar, J. Q, C, on growth of 
nationalism, 14; in Congress, 

Lamon, W. H., visit to Charles- 
ton, 304; unauthorized state- 
ments, 305, 308, 321. 

Lane, H. S., and Seward's can- 
didacy, 122. 

Lane, Joseph, nominated for 
vice-president, 116; expect- 
ed election by Senate, 134. 

Lawrence, A. A., on Crittenden 
compromise, 174. 

Lee, R. E., and John Brown's 
raid, 80. 

Lee, S. D,, and Sumter, 331, 339. 

Letcher, John, on Seward, 98; 
on coercion, 266. 

Lincoln, election as reason for 
secession, 93, 96, 129. 133, 
137, 139, 144, 167; Cooper 
Institute speech, loi, 102; na- 
tionalism, 102,283 ; candidacy 
for presidential nomination, 
116; votes for, nominated, 
119; nomination a surprise, 
119; basis of it, 120-123; 
election foreshadowed , 126; 
Seward's magnanimity, 130; 
elected, popular and electoral 

vote, 132; and Stephens, 
143; and compromise, 172, 
176, 180, 181, 279, 280; post- 
election conduct, 278; letter 
to Scott on forts, 278; letter 
to Gilmer on attitude, 279; 
consultation on cabinet, 280- 
282 ; journey to Washington, 
addresses, 282-284; on coer- 
cion and invasion, 283; and 
slavery in states, 284, 286; 
and Baltimore plot, 284; at 
Washington, 285; inaugural, 
285; southerners on inaugu- 
ral, 287; recognizes impor- 
tance of retaining Siunter, 
289, 341; orders Scott to 
maintain Federal property, 
292; Scott's advice against 
relief, 293; and Fox's plan, 
294, 305; first cabinet coun- 
cil on relief, 294-296; and 
Scott's advice on Pickens, 
305, 306; second cabinet 
coimcil on relief, 306; or- 
ders relief expedition, 307; 
informs Pickens of expedi- 
tion, 310, 327; and Seward's 
negotiations, 311; and Sew- 
ard's "Thoughts," 312; and 
Pensacola expedition, 314- 
318; call for militia, 3 40 ; bib- 
liography of beginning of ad- 
ministration, 343-353; writ- 
ings, 347; biographies, 349- 

Longstreet, A. B., on necessity 
of constitutional action, 187. 

Louisiana, secession, 146. 

Lovejoy, Owen, disturbance in 
House, 105; on navy, 124. 

Lowell, J. R., on threats of dis- 
union (i860), 127. 

McDowell, James, on neces- 
sity of slavery, 55. 

Mclntire, Peter, appointed col- 
lector of Charleston, 220. 

McLean, John, candidacy for 
presidential nomination, 116. 


Magoffin, Beriah, and secession, 

Magrath, A. G., resigns, 137; 
and Sumter, 239. 

Mallory, S. R., in Senate, 90; 
manifesto of southern con- 
gressmen, 242; and Brook- 
lyn expedition to Pensacoia, 
250; Confederate secretary of 
navy, 255. 

Manning, J. L., and surrender 
of Sumter, 339, 

Manufactures, North and South 
compared (i860), 28, 

Marais des Cygnes massacre, 76. 

Maryland, slave population 
(i860), 21; its decrease, 22; 
and secession, 268. 

Mason, J. M., resolution on 
John Brown's raid, 95; on 
sectional hostility, 149. 

Massachusetts, instructions to 
Peace Convention delegates, 

Maynard, Horace, in Congress, 

Meade, R. K., and removal to 
Sumter, 208; and Star of the 
West, 229. 

Meigs, M. C, and Pensacoia 
expedition, 307, 314-319. 

Memminger, C. G., Confederate 
secretary of treasury, 255. 

Mercer, Samuel, and relief ex- 
peditions, 313, 315, 318. 

Merriam, F. J., Harper's Ferry 
raid, 78. 

Mexico, Buchanan 'sproposedin- 
tervention, 61, 106; draught 
treaties, 106. 

Michigan and Peace Conven- 
tion, 273. 

Miles, W. P., in Congress, 90; 
and surrender of Sumter, 339. 

Millson, J. S., on territorial sla- 
very, 183. 

Mississippi, secession, 146. 

Missouri, slavery doomed, 22; 
and secession, 268; instruc- 

tions to Peace Convention 
delegates, 272. 
Moall, and removal to Sumter, 

Moore, A. B., on abolitionists, 

Morrill, J. S., in Congress, 90. 
Morse, F. H., and navy, 125. 
Moultrie, Fort, condition, 190. 

See also Charleston Harbor. 
Munroe, W. C, and John 

Brown, 75. 

Nationalism, divergent aspira- 
tions, 4; growth of spirit of, 
and slavery, 14; effect of 
new states, 14; foreign to 
southern interests, 15, 16; 
Webster's propositions, 44, 
45 ; Clay's attitude, 49 ; Web- 
ster's attitude, 50; strength 
of Unionism, 54, 58; Lincoln 
on, 102, 283. See also Sec- 

Navy, appropriations reduced 
on eve of war, 124, 125; 
moribund, 164. 

Negro seamen acts and Re- 
publican compromise offer, 

173. 178. 

Negroes, racial limitations of, 
and slavery, 18. 

Nelson, Samuel, and Seward's 
Charleston Harbor negotia- 
tions, 298, 300. 

New England, secession move- 
ment, 12. 

New Jersey, instructions to 
Peace Convention delegates, 

New Orleans, and secession of 
South Carolina, 146; seizes 
Federal property, 147; small 
majority for secession, 147; 
revenue-cutters episode, 246. 

New York, growth, 22; tenders 
aid to president, 267; in- 
structions to Peace Conven- 
tion delegates, 271. 



Niles, Hezekiah, on southern 
trend of slavery, 35. 

Norfolk navy-yard watched by 
secessionists, 205. 

Norris, Charles, at Norfolk, 205. 

North, indecision at crisis, 4; 
ignorant of South, 16; popu- 
lation and area of free states 
(i860), 21; manufactures 
(i860), 28; preponderance 
over South, 29; development 
of anti-southern feeling, 57; 
final opposition to slavery, 
59; and compromise, 173- 
175; imwarlike condition, 

North Carolina, secession con- 
vention voted down, 268. 

Nullification, fatuity of Clay's 
compromise, 43. 

Ohio, instructions to Peace 
Convention delegates, 271. 

Orr, J. L., conference on seces- 
sion, 136; South Carolina 
commission, 205; demand 
for the forts, 213-215; Bu- 
chanan's reply, 216-218; re- 
joinder, 218. 

Parker, F. S., on groT\i:h of 
secession movement, 167. 

Parker, Theodore, and John 
Brown, 73-76; advocates 
slave insurrection, 84; com- 
plicity with Brown condemn- 
ed, 84-86. 

Payne, H. B., on Democratic 
platform (i860), iii. 

Peace Convention, call and 
Sumter truce, 268, 269; reso- 
lution calling, 269; South 
Carolina's answer, 269; meet- 
ing, 270; failure foreshadow- 
ed, 270; Tyler's address, 270; 
state instructions to dele- 
gates, 271; compromise offer, 
272; Chandler on, 273 ; offer 
defeated in Congress, 273; 

public disappointment in fail- 
ure, 274. 

Pendergrast, G. J., and Pensa- 
cola, 248. 

Pennington, A. C. M., elected 
speaker, 92. 

Pennsylvania, state election 
(1860), protection issue, 126; 
instructions to Peace Con- 
vention delegates, 271. 

Pensacola, navy-yard captirred 
by secessionists, 247; secre- 
tary of navy's responsibility, 
248; Brooklyn sent to, truce, 
249-251; fleet before, 251. 
See also Pickens (Fort). 

Periodicals of period 1859-1861, 

Personal liberty laws, as reason 
for secession, 139, 147, 168; 
Buchanan on, 163; Critten- 
den compromise on, 171; 
Republican offer on, 173; 
Lincoln on, 280. 

Petigru, J. L., Unionist, 304. 

Pettigrew, J. J., and Anderson, 

Phelps, A. A., on other isms of 
abolitionists, 56. 

Pickens, F. W., and forty- 
muskets episode, 201; re- 
quest for Sumter, 201-204; 
for immediate secession, 204; 
and removal to Sumter, 210; 
and Star of the West, 233; 
demand for delivery of Sum- 
ter, 240; and Confederate con- 
trol of forts question, 259; 
urges attack, 260; and Fox, 
303; and Lamon, 305, 308; 
informed of relief expedition, 
310, 327; consultation with 
Beauregard, 327. 

Pickens, Fort, Slemmer occu- 
pies, 247; Vogdes sent to, 
249; truce, 250, 251; Vogdes 
not landed, 250, 319; Vodges 
ordered to land, 297; Scott 
advises abandonment, 305, 



306; Porter's plan to re- 
lieve, 313; expedition author- 
ized, 314; orders for expe- 
dition, 315, 316; conflicting 
plans, 3 1 6-3 1 8 ; expedition 
fails, 318-320; Vogdes finally 
reinforces, 320. 
Pierce, Franklin, on secession, 

Pinckney, Castle, condition, 189. 
See also Charleston Harbor. 

Politics , party conditions (1859), 
67. See also Elections and 
parties by name. 

Poor whites, lowland, and sla- 
very, 23-25, 33; character 
of mountain, 25-27; anomaly 
of loyalty to South, 34; 
virtual disfranchisement, 34. 

Population, southern and north- 
em, compared (i860), 21. 

Porter, D. D., plan to relieve 
Pickens, 313; orders, 315, 
316; and orders to Brown, 
317; and failure of expedi- 
tion, 318-320. 

Porter, Fitz-John, report on 
Charleston forts, 193. 

Post-office, exclusion of aboli- 
tionist publications, 57. 

Pottawatomie massacre, 70. 

Potter, J. F., and Pryor's chal- 
lenge, 105. 

Powell, L. W., committee of thir- 
teen, 166; and Chandler, 273. 

Powhatan, and loss of Pensacola, 
248; and Sumter relief expe- 
dition, 312, 313; diverted to 
Pensacola expedition, 314- 
316, 333; diversion useless, 

President under Confederate 
constitution, 256, 257. 

Prince of Wales, visit to Amer- 
ica, 126. 

Pryor, R. A., in Congress, 90; 
challenges Potter, 105; on 
Lincoln's inaugural, 287; and 
surrender of Sumter, 339. 

Pugh, G. E., on navy, 124. 
Pugh, J. L., advice on secession, 

Quitman, J. A., death, 68. 

Railroads, North and South, 
(i860), 29. 

Reagan, J. H., Confederate post- 
master-general, 255. 

Realf , Richard, and John Brown, 

Republican party, and abolition, 
67; control (1859), 68; ignores 
secession threats (i860), 95; 
Douglas on, 97; and compro- 
mise, 169, 172, 176, 181-183. 
See also Elections. 

Rhett, Barnwell, on causes of 
secession, 168. 

Rhett, R. B., Jr., and removal 
to Sumter, 206. 

Rhode Island, instructions to 
Peace Convention delegates, 

Robertson, John, and Sumter 
truce, 269. 

Roman, A. B., commissioner to 
Washington, 256. 

Rowan, S. C, Sumter relief ex- 
pedition, 332, 333. 

Ruffin, Edmund, opens fire on 
Sumter, 334. 

San Antonio, ordnance depot 
seized, 275. 

Sanborn, F. B., on Pottawato- 
mie massacre, 70; and John 
Brown's Harper's Ferry raid, 
73-75 ; complicity with Brown 
condemned, 85, 86. 

Schurz, Carl, on Chase's can- 
didacy (i860), 116. 

Scott, H. L., and Fox expedi- 
tion, 332. 

Scott, Winfield, advises rein- 
forcement of forts (Oct.), 
184; inaccurate statement 
of force available, 185; re- 



news advice (Dec), 223; 
and Star of the West expedi- 
tion, 225, 231-233; reply to 
Black on relief, 237; and 
Fox's plan of relief, 238; and 
Washington plot, 263; and 
Twiggs's surrender, 276, 277; 
Lincoln's warning on poli- 
cy, 278; Lincoln orders vigi- 
lance, 292; advises concilia- 
tion, 292; discourages relief 
of Sumter, 293 ; and renewal 
of Fox's plan, 294; advises 
abandonment of Pickens, 305, 
306, 319; bibliography, 348. 
Secession, slavery basis, 10, 13- 
16; as a constitutional ques- 
tion, 1 1 ; New England move- 
ment, 12; Calhoun's respon- 
sibility, 37, 46; principles in 
his resolutions (1833), 43-46; 
Calhoun's final threat, 48; 
threats and answers in Con- 
gress _ (1859), 93; Republi- 
cans ignore threats, 95, 126; 
Douglas's campaign denuncia- 
tion, 127-130; election shows 
southern majority against, 
133, 142; not ulterior pur- 
pose of Democratic split, 
133-135; South Carolina's 
pre-election steps towards, 
136-138; convention called, 
138; ordinance, 138; char- 
acter of convention, 138; 
declaration of causes, 139; 
Georgia's plan of co-opera- 
tive action, 140, 146; opposi- 
tion in Georgia, Stephens's 
speech, 141-143; opposition 
to, considered hopeless, 143; 
policy of, to secure better 
terms, 144; Alabama, 144- 
147; Mississippi, 146; Louis- 
iana, 146; Texas, popular 
vote, 147; non-existence of 
concrete grievances, 147; in- 
tangible grievance, sectional 
hostility, 148, 167, 168; move- 


ment not of popular origin, 
149; how it became popu- 
lar, 150; Buchanan's policy 
promotes, 159, 187-189; ques- 
tion of coercion and enforce- 
ment of laws, 160, 163, 266, 
282, 283 ; Buchanan's attempt 
to delay, 161, 204; Buchanan 
denies right, 162; "go in 
peace " policy, 164, 165; not a 
sudden crisis, 167; southern 
programme, 1 68 ; congressmen 
advise, 169; as conspiracy, 
242-245; importance of bor- 
der states, 265; attitude of 
Virginia, 266, 267; border 
state conventions, 267, 268; 
Lincoln on, 279, 286; Vir- 
ginia secedes, 340. See also 

Sectionalism, outward manifes- 
tations, 10; unconscious so- 
cial forces, 11; development 
of northern antagonism to 
South, 57. See also National- 
ism, Secession. 

Seward, W. H., on threats of 
secession (i860), 95, 127; 
southern opinion of, as prob- 
able nominee, 98; speech on 
slavery (i860), 102-104; nom- 
ination considered sure, 116, 
120; Greeley opposes, 117; 
vote for, 119; why not nom- 
inated, 120-122; magnanim- 
ity, 130; ephemeral pique, 
131; stump speeches, 131; 
committee of thirteen, 172; 
compromise offer, 172; com- 
promise attitude, 176; select- 
ed for state portfolio, 281; 
secessionists doubt conserva- 
tism, 287; advises against 
relief of Sumter, 294, 306; 
public statement of in- 
tended evacuation of Sum- 
ter, 296; and Confederate 
commissioners, 297, 298, 311; 
Campbell negotiations on 


evacuation, 298-301, 308- 
311; and Stoeckl, 301; sin- 
cerity of statements, 302, 3 1 1 ; 
Davis and peace policy, 301, 
3 03 ; belief in southern Union 
sentiment, 304; and Pensa- 
cola expedition, 307, 313- 
318; considered head of ad- 
ministration 311; " Thoughts 
for the President's Considera- 
tion," 312 ; bibliography, 348, 

Seymour, Trimian, and removal 
to Sumter, 209. 

Sharkey, W. L., and Davis, 254. 

Sherman, John, speakership con- 
test and Impending Crisis, 
9 1 ; and naval appropriation 
(i860), 124. 

Sickles, D. E., in Congress, 90; 
and Washington's birthday 
parade, 264, 

Slave-trade, foreign, opposition 
to (1776), 5; amoimt of 
clandestine (185 0-1860), 18; 
domestic, of border states, 
35; foreign, movement for 
reopening, 61-63; suppres- 
sion and decay of South 
Carolina, 63-66; Crittenden 
compromise on, 171, 172; 
Confederate constitution on, 

Slavery, sentiment (1776), 4-6; 
and cotton, 7, 8; economic 
factor of treatment of slaves, 
9; basis of secession, 10, 
13; anachronism, 14; lesson 
taught by issue, 17; and 
negro race, 18; defence, 19; 
contentment of slaves, 20; 
statistics (i860), 21 ; and low- 
land poor whites, 23-25; and 
mountain poor whites, 26; 
and immigration, 27; low 
value of agricultural slave 
labor, 27; burden on slave- 
owners, 32; proportion of 
slave - owners, 32-34; effect 

on white labor, 33; trend 
southward, 35; Calhoim's 
belief in, 38; his responsi- 
bility for agitation, 38-40; 
his blindness to its anachro- 
nism, 40; Calhoim on, as a 
social basis, 41; Clay's atti- 
tude (1850), 49'; wisdom of 
Webster's speech (1850), 50- 
53 ; baseless fear of further 
annexations, 53 ; South and 
abolitionist propaganda, 5 5 ; 
possible working basis for 
emancipation, 5 5 ; doctrine 
of necessity, 55; possible 
suppression of agitation be- 
fore 1854, 58; effect of Kan- 
sas-Nebraska bill and Uncle 
Tom's Cabin, 59; of Dred 
Scott decision, 59; impossi- 
bility of territorial expan- 
sion (1859), 59, 60; attempt- 
ed expansion, 61; price of 
slaves, 61 ; demand for slaves 
and territorial expansion, 62, 
114; slaves and John Brown's 
raid, 84, 87-89; Davis's reso- 
lution on territorial (i860), 
99-101, 104; Lincoln's Cooper 
Institute speech, loi ; Seward 
on (i860), 102-104; Demo- 
cratic platform on territo- 
rial, no- 114; Republican 
platform on te'rritorial, 117; 
Sumner's speech, 125; recog- 
nition in Confederate consti- 
tution, 256, 257; foimdation 
of Confederate government, 
258; bibliography, 351. See 
also Compromise. 

Slemmer, A. J., occupies Fort 
Pickens, 247. 

Slidell, John, in Senate, 90; 
manifesto of southern con- 
gressmen, 242. 

Smith, C. B., selected for interi- 
or portfolio, 281, 282; and 
relief of Sumter, 294, 306. 

Smith, Gerrit, negro coloniza- 



tion, 69; and John Brown, 
72, 75; complicity with 
Brown condemned, 85, 86. 

Social conditions, poor whites, 
23-27; lack of southern 
towns, 3 o ; character of south- 
em life, 31. See also Slavery. 

Soule, Pierre, and Douglas, 115. 

Sources on period 1859-1861, 
collections, 345; documents, 
345, 346; periodicals, 346; 
writings, 347; ^ autobiogra- 
phies and reminiscences, 348, 
349; on John Brown, 350; 
on economic conditions, 351; 
on outbreak of the war, 352. 

South, failure to share in na- 
tionalistic development, 15; 
ignorant of the North, 16; 
small farms, 27; manufact- 
ures, 28; preponderance of 
North, 29; railways, 29; lack 
of towns, 30; character of 
life, 3 1 ; proportion of slave- 
owners, 32-34; and aboli- 
tionism, 55; development of 
northern antagonism, 5 7 ; and 
John Brown's raid, 84, 89; 
belief in world-controlling 
power of, 94, 95, 104; effect 
of Civil War on, 342 ; bibliog- 
raphy of conditions, 351. See 
also Compromise, Secession, 
Sectionalism, Slavery. 

South Carolina, migration and 
decay, 35; real and asstimed 
causes of decay, 63-66; pre- 
election secession prepara- 
tions, 136—138; convention 
and ordinance of secession, 
138; declaration of causes, 
139; refuses to await co-op- 
eration, 140; commissioners, 
205; and Peace Convention, 
269. See also Charleston Har- 

Southern Commercial Conven- 
tions and reopening of slave- 
trade, 63. 
VOL. XIX. — 24 

Spain, draught claims conven- 
tion (i860), 107. 

Spratt, L. W., on decay of 
Charleston, 64. 

Stanton, E. M., attorney-gen- 
eral, and removal to Sumter, 
213; and reply to commission- 
ers, 215; bibliography, 350. 

Star of the West expedition, orig- 
inal plan, 224; delay, 224; 
imarmed vessel substituted, 
225 ; vain attempt at secrecy, 
225; preparation, 226; An- 
derson's ignorance, 226; ofif 
Charleston Harbor, 227; fired 
upon, 227; turns back, 228; 
Anderson's action, 228, 229; 
responsibility for failure, 230- 
233; Pickens justifies firing 
on, 232; attempt to cotmter- 
mand expedition, 235. 

State rights, Calhoim's doctrine, 

Steams, G. L., and John 
Brown, 71-76; complicity 
with Brown condemned, 85, 

Stephens, A. H., on constitu- 
tional cause of secession, 1 1 ; 
on slavery and Christianity, 
20; leaves Congress, proph- 
ecy, 68; on Buchanan and 
election of i860, 133 ; expects 
Civil War, 134; anti-secession 
speech, 141, 142; and Lin- 
coln, 143; despairs of pre- 
venting secession, 143; on 
Confederate provisional con- 
gress, 252; Confederate pro- 
visional vice-president, 253; 
and presidency, 253; and 
Confederate heads of depart- 
ments, 258; on Confederacy 
and slavery, 258; bibliog- 
raphy, 347, 350. 

Stevens, A. C, Harper's Ferry 
raid, 79. 

Stevens, Thaddeus, opposes 
compromise, 176. 


Stewart, Charles, and Fox's 
plan, 305. 

Stoeckl, Edward de, and Sew- 
ard's peace policy, 301. 

Stowe, Harriet B. See Uncle 
Tom's Cabin, 

Stringham, S. H., and relief of 
Siimter, 295, 305. 

Stuart, J. E. B., and John 
Brown's raid, 81. 

Summers, G. W., Unionist, 296. 

Sumner, Charles, speech on sla- 
very (i860), 125. 

Sumter, Fort, condition, 190. 
See also Charleston Harbor. 

Supreme coiut as interpreter of 
the Constitution, 44, 45. 

Talbot, Theodore, sent to 
Washington, 234, 323; not 
allowed to return to Sumter, 

Tariff, as issue in i860, 126; 
not an issue of secession, 140; 
Confederate, 254; Confeder- 
ate constitution on, 256. 

Tennessee, secession convention 
voted down, 268; instruc- 
tions to Peace Convention 
delegates, 272. 

Territories, no further chance 
for slave (1859), 59, 60; 
Davis's resolution on protec- 
tion of slavery in, 99-101; 
Democratic platform on sla- 
very (i860), 110-114; Re- 
publican platform on slavery, 
T17, 118; Buchanan's mes- 
sage on slavery, 163; Wade 
on slavery compromise, 169; 
Crittenden compromise on 
slavery, 170; Lincoln and 
compromise on slavery, 172, 
176, 180, 181,279, 280; ques- 
tion actually settled, 183; 
Confederate constitution on 
slavery, 257. 

Territory, no more southern 
annexations possible, 53, 107, 

108; movements for addi- 
tional slave, 61, 107; addi- 
tional, and Crittenden com- 
promise, 171, 176, 180, 181. 
Texas, Twiggs's surrender, 275- 

Thomas, Lorenzo, and Star of 
the West expedition, 226. 

Thomas, P. F., and removal to 
Sumter, 213; and reply to 
commissioners, 215; resigns, 

Thompson, Jacob, and seces- 
sion, 151, 153; and reinforce- 
ment of forts, 153, 158; and 
removal to Simiter, 213 ; and 
reply to commissioners, 215; 
and relief of Sumter, 225, 
245; resigns, 245. 

Thurlow, Lord, and slave-trade, 

Toombs, Robert, disunion 
threat, 96; committee of 
thirteen, 172; and Critten- 
den compromise, 172, 175; 
manifesto of southern con- 
gressmen, 242; candidacy 
for Confederate presidency, 
253; Confederate secretary 
of state, 255; and Sumter, 
259; and Seward's peace 
policy, 303; and attack on 
Sumter, 329. 

Totten, J. G., and relief of 
Sumter, 295, 320. 

Toucey, Isaac, and secession, 
151; and reply to commis- 
sioners, 215; and loss of 
Pensacola, 248. 

Towns, southern lack, 30. 

Treasury notes, failure to float, 
221 ; floated, 246. 

Trescot, W. H., and Buchanan, 
152; on Floyd and reinforce- 
ment of forts, 153, 154; and 
conspiracy to prevent rein- 
forcement, 154-156, 158; 
takes message to Columbia, 
156; assures Buchanan of 



secession, 156; and removal 
of ammunition, 192; and 
forty-muskets episode, 200; 
and demand for Sumter, 202 ; 
and removal to Simiter, 211, 

Trumbull, Lyman, amendment 
to Harper's Ferry raid inqui- 
ry, 96; resolution on enforc- 
ing the laws, 302. 

Twiggs, D. E., asks for instruc- 
tions, 276; negotiation with 
secessionists, 276; surrender, 
277 ; dismissed, 277. 

Tyler, John, and Fort Pickens, 
249; and Washington's birth- 
day. parade, 264; and truce, 
269; chairman of Peace Con- 
vention, address, 270; bib- 
liography, 350. 

Uncle Tom's Cabin, effect, 59, 

Union men in South, at time of 
election, 133, 188; Seward's 
belief in, 304; none in South 
Carolina, 304. 

Vallandigham, C. L., in Con- 
gress, 90. 

Veto, right under Confederate 
constitution, 256. 

Virginia, and slave-trade (1774), 
5 ; relative decay, 2 1 ; decrease 
of slave ratio, 22 ; non-slave- 
holding population, 34; mi- 
gration south and west, 3 5 ; 
armed preparation , 95, 267; 
influence in secession crisis, 
265; sympathies, 266; atti- 
tude of western, 266; Letch- 
er's message, 266; convention 
called, 266; and New York 
resolutions, 267; makes com- 
promise on secession the is- 
sue, 267; convention, 267; 
calls Peace Convention, 268; 
war and secession, 288; se- 
cedes, 340. 

Vogdes, Israel, and Fort Pick- 
ens, 249-25i» 297, 319. 

Wade, B. F., candidacy for 

presidential nomination, 116; 

opposes compromise, 1 69 , 1 7 6 ; 

committee of thirteen, 172. 
Waite, C. A., and Twiggs, 276. 
Walker, L. P., Confederate 

secretary of war, 255; and 

attack on Sumter, 329. 
Walker, William, and slavery 

extension, 61; killed, 108; 

bibliography, 352. 
Ward, J. H., plan to relieve 

Stmiter, 237. 
Washington, L. Q., on Lincoln's 

inaugural, 287. 
Washington, Lewis, captured by 

John Brown, 79; on Brown, 


Washington, plot and Washing- 
ton's birthday parade (1861), 

Weed, Thurlow, and defeat of 
Seward, 119; on compromise, 
174; conference with Lin- 
coln, 280-282; bibliography, 
348, 349- 

Welles, Gideon, selected for 
navy portfolio, 281; and 
relief of Sumter, 294, 306; 
and relief expedition, 307; 
and Pensacola expedition, 
314,317; reminiscences, 348. 

Whig party, disintegration, 67. 

Whitefield, George, and slavery, 

Wigfall, L. T., and removal to 
Sumter, 211, 215; manifesto 
of southern congressmen, 242 ; 
on Lincoln's inaugural, 287; 
and surrender of Sumter, 338, 

Wilmot proviso, Calhoun s atti- 
tude, 47. 

Wilson, Henry, on apogee of 
abolitionism, 56; and John 
Brown's plan, 75 ; on threats 


of secession, 95; on candi- 
dacy of Seward and Chase, 
120; opposes compromise, 

Windom, William, in Congress, 

Wise, H. A., and John Brown, 
83; foresees Civil War, 83. 

Worden, J. L., and Fort Pick- 
ens, 319, 320. 

Yancey, W. L., and reopening 
of slave-trade, 63 ; on Demo- 
cratic platform (i860), iii, 
112; advice on secession, 136; 
forces secession in Alabama, 
145, 146; bibliography, 350. 

Yiilee, D. L., manifesto of 
southern congressmen, 242; 
on remaining m Washington,